Aussie link in Ir­ish win

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

H E i s t h e B r i s b a n e - b o r n car­pen­ter whose self­less act paved the way for Ire­land all­rounder Kevin O’Brien to stun Eng­land with the fastest cen­tury in World Cup his­tory.

O’Brien is to­day a na­tional hero af­ter his sparkling 50-ball cen­tury pi­loted his side to a stun­ning de­feat of the Poms, but the role o f A u s s i e A l e x C u s a c k i n Ire­land’s great­est crick­et­ing mo­ment can­not be un­der­stated.

The 30-year-old from Bar­don – who played club cricket at Norths with Mitchell John­son and James Hopes – pro­vided the poise to com­ple­ment O’Brien’s power hit­ting. Cu­sack added 47 as the pair com­bined for a match-win­ning sixth-wicket part­ner­ship of 162 f r o m j u s t 1 0 7 b a l l s t o sen­sa­tion­ally reel in Eng­land’s mam­moth 8-327.

As the ra­zor-sharp English press took the scalpel to Andrew Strauss’ shat­tered side, Cu­sack and the Ir­ish par­tied into the wee hours on In­dian King­fisher beer, vodka, bour­bon and cham­pagne.

The Ir­ish hit the sack around 5am yes­ter­day. Four hours later, Cu­sack was an­swer­ing phone calls from the me­dia, savour­ing the sweet­est mo­ment of his crick­et­ing life.

‘‘ This is bril­liant. To see the look on the Eng­land guys’ faces was price­less,’’ Cu­sack said.

" There was no Guin­ness at the team ho­tel, so we had the lo­cal King­fisher brew out.

‘‘ The adrenalin is still flow­ing – I’m on top of the world.’’

O’Brien’s bru­tal 113 off 63 balls, laced with 13 fours and six sixes, saw him eclipse Matthew Hay­den’s 66-ball ton against South Africa at the 2007 World Cup, but it was Cu­sack’s sense of team that in­spired the Ir­ish boilover.

En­ter­ing the 42nd over at 5-272, need­ing 56 to win from 54 balls, O’Brien blocked a ball to point. The pair set off, but when Cu­sack sensed one of them would be run out, he aborted mid-pitch, sent O’Brien back and turned to make a valiant lunge for the crease.

He failed to make his ground, but Cu­sack’s de­ci­sion to sac­ri­fice him­self to keep O’Brien in the mid­dle set up the vic­tory.

‘‘ I just knew Kevin had to stay out there,’’ he said. ‘‘ His in­nings is the best I’ve seen from any­one. It was ab­so­lutely un­be­liev­able.

‘‘ We took the power play ( forc­ing Eng­land to bring in its out­field­ers) when we were five wick­ets down and we didn’t have much to lose re­ally.

‘‘ We scored 60-odd in those ( five) overs, we had plenty of overs left and it got to nearly a run a ball and that’s when we had an idea we had a chance of win­ning."

Cu­sack, who has Ir­ish her­itage, moved to the Emer­ald Isle in 2005 and has be­come a key mem­ber of the side.

From 32 matches, the medi­umpacer has 34 wick­ets at 21.47 and av­er­ages 27 with the bat.

YHANDY PART­NER­SHIP: Alex Cu­sack, left, and record-breaker Kevin O’Brien

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.