Giant-killing act

Ireland captain Trent Johnston (left) and Kevin O'Brien are jubilant after beating Pakistan.-Pics:AP Ireland captain Trent Johnston (left) and Kevin O'Brien are jubilant after beating Pakistan.

Ireland caused one of the major upsets in the history of the World Cup. The debutant knocked Pakistan out of the championship.

Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien was the hero for Ireland as the team celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a famous three-wicket victory over Pakistan in Jamaica.

O'Brien held together Ireland's innings with a gutsy 72 before being stumped off Shoaib Malik. But the party started when skipper Trent Johnston heaved Azhar Mahmood high into the Sabina Park stands to finish the game with a six.

The result, one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history, ended Pakistan's chances of making it beyond the group stages after its opening-day defeat to the West Indies.

Bowlers Boyd Rankin and Andre Botha had earlier starred for Ireland as they dismissed Pakistan for 132. But eventually the target for Ireland was reduced to 128 off 47 overs due to rain disruption.

Ireland started disastrously as opener Jeremy Bray, who had a great time with the bat against Zimbabwe, fell leg before to a swinging delivery from Mohammad Sami. That brought Eoin Morgan to the crease but he did not last long as well. Again it was Sami who did the damage.

William Porterfield and O'Brien steadied the ship.

Porterfield, who scored 13 from 50 balls, was finally out off Mohammad Hafeez.

The brothers, Niall O'Brien and Kevin, put on 38 runs and Niall looked like he would end the game early when he dispatched Malik for a huge six.

But a ball later he stepped out and went for another ambitious shot and was stumped by Kamran Akmal.

Rao Iftikhar removed Andrew White (four) and Kyle McCallan (0) with successive deliveries to leave Ireland seven down with 15 needed for victory. But Johnston ended the game in grand fashion.

Earlier Pakistan's top order failed yet again. Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan were out with only 15 runs on the scoreboard.

Akmal's 27 was Pakistan's top score. — PA Sport

* * *

Herschelle Gibbs, with six sixes in an over, has made history. South Africa's Gibbs hit Holland leg-spinner Daan van Bunge five times in an arc between long-on and long-off — peppering the glazing in the pavilion at Warner Park — and once over midwicket in a Group A win.

Herschelle Gibbs, with six sixes in an over, made history.-

His 72, a 15th one-day international hundred from Jacques Kallis (128 not out), a Cup record 21-ball half-century from Mark Boucher (75 not out) and 67 at the top of the order from captain Graeme Smith mauled the Dutch bowlers. South Africa ended with a total of 353 for three.

This was South Africa's new best Cup total. Holland could muster only 132 for nine in reply.

But the match will be remembered for Gibbs' brutal onslaught about which he is modest.

"It's up there with the best things I've done," he admitted.

"I never thought about getting six in a row but if it's your day, it's your day. After the first three I thought I was in with a chance. But I decided I wasn't going to charge him; I'd wait to see what he does and luckily they fell into the right slot." — David Clough/PA Sport

* * *

Ricky Ponting and Glenn McGrath were the star-performers as Australia walloped Scotland by the second-highest margin in World Cup history, in the Group A opener in St. Kitts.

Ponting (113) plundered a record-equalling fourth World Cup hundred as his team made 334 for six.

Scotland's batsmen ran into McGrath (three for 13), and it required some sensible batting from Colin Smith (51) to salvage some pride on the way to 131 all out and a 203-run loss.

Ponting came to the crease following an opening stand of 91 and reached three figures in just 86 balls — hitting four sixes and nine fours and he is now second to only Sachin Tendulkar as an all-time top run scorer in this competition. — David Clough/PA Sport

* * *

Kenya cruised to a comfortable seven-wicket win against Canada in St. Lucia.

Set a victory target of 200 after electing to bowl, the shock semi-finalists of the 2003 World Cup eased home with a little under seven overs to spare, aided by some slack fielding and 28 extras.

Kenya lost an early wicket when David Obuya (four) nudged Anderson Cummins behind and it was two down when Ravi Shah (six) was trapped leg before by Umar Bhatti to leave the team at 52 for two.

A 58 from Maurice Ouma steadied the innings and, as the Canadians failed to exert any kind of pressure, the imperious Steve Tikolo with 72 not out and youngster Tanmay Mishra (35 not out) guided the Kenyans home at a canter.

Earlier Canada made a solid start to its innings as openers Geoff Barnett and Abdool Samad put on 40 for the first wicket.

Canada was able to progress to 199 before seamer Henry Osinde was run out for one on the final ball of the innings, leaving Sunil Dhaniram unbeaten with a fine 34 off 35 balls.

Spinners Kamande and Tikolo were the pick of the Kenyan bowlers with two wickets apiece. — Rich Jones/PA Sport

* * *

Ireland captain Trent Johnston admitted that he could not have asked for more from his players after the team's dramatic tie against Zimbabwe at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

The Irish, on their debut in the tournament, posted 221 for nine after Jeremy Bray top-scored with 115 but Zimbabwe appeared to be cruising until a late collapse.

Zimbabwe was well on course as it reached 203 for five in the 44th over but Ireland picked up the last five wickets for just 18 runs.

Australian-born Johnston said: "When you play cricket in this competition, and you play against the level of cricketers that we are playing against, you have got to take every opportunity.

"We let the game slip, but we came away with a tie in our first World Cup match ever, so I am proud of the guys." — PA Sport

* * *

England survived another mini collapse to beat a plucky Canada by 51 runs at Gros Islet, St. Lucia.

England posted 279 for six after being sent into bat by Canada at the Beausejour Cricket Ground. After an early wobble, Canada rallied for a credible total of 228 for 7, highlighted by Ashif Mulla's 58, as England struggled to bowl the team out.

It was Canada's highest total in 11 World Cup matches.

England captain Michael Vaughan was just relieved for the win.

As well as Flintoff, who and five other players were fined for being out late following the six-wicket loss to New Zealand. The others were fast bowlers James Anderson, Liam Plunkett and John Lewis, wicketkeeper Paul Nixon and batsman Ian Bell.

"The victory was the most important thing," Vaughan said. "There are areas in which we need to improve. With the incidents on Friday night, unfortunately, we put a lot of undue pressure on ourselves.

England dropped Flintoff for disciplinary reasons after newspaper reports emerged of his night out drinking.

According to British media, Flintoff had to be rescued from the ocean at 4 a.m. by hotel staff after capsizing a pedalo. Flintoff was also stripped of the vice-captaincy.

* * *

Brad Hodge's first limited-overs international hundred and four wickets from Brad Hogg took Australia to a 229-run win over the Netherlands at St. Kitts.

Hodge blasted seven sixes and eight boundaries to score 123 and shared a Cup record 204-run, fourth-wicket stand with Michael Clarke (93 not out) as defending champion Australia reached 358 for five at Warner Park.

Hogg then took four for 27 — while Nathan Bracken and Glenn McGrath took two wickets apiece — as the Netherlands was dismissed for 129 in the 27th over.

It's the third biggest win by runs in World Cup history. Australia has three of the top five, including the 203-run win over Scotland.

"Things have come together really, really well in the last two games," Australia captain Ricky Ponting said. "Our batting has been very, very good, but I still think there is a little bit of room for improvement. Our fielding and bowling have been very good as well.

"It can be easy to just go out there when you have a big score on the board and just go through the motions, but the guys got stuck in and did whatever they could to take wickets and finish the game."


Australia 334 for six in 50 overs (A. Gilchrist 46, M. Hayden 60, R. Ponting 116, B. Hodge 29, B. Hogg 40 not out) bt Scotland 131 (C. Smith 51, G. McGrath three for 14). Australia won by 203 runs.

South Africa 353 for three in 40 overs (G. Smith 67, J. Kallis 128 not out, H. Gibbs 72, M. Boucher 75) bt Netherlands 132 for nine in 40 overs (R. N. Ten Doeschate 57). South Africa won by 221 runs.

Australia 358 for five in 50 overs (A. Gilchrist 57, M. Hayden 29, M. Clarke 93 not out, B. Hodge 123) bt Netherlands 129 in 26.5 overs (D. J. Reekers 25, D. Van Bunge 33, B. Hogg four for 27). Australia won by 229 runs. Group C:

Canada 199 in 50 overs (G. Barnett 41, I. Billcliff 34, A. Mulla 25, S. Dhaniram 34 not out) lost to Kenya 203 for three in 43.2 overs (M. Ouma 58, S. Tikolo 72 not out, T. Mishra 35 not out). Kenya won by seven wickets.

England 279 for six in 50 overs (E. Joyce 66, M. Vaughan 45, I. Bell 28, P. Collingwood 62 not out, R. Bopara 29, S. Dhaniram three for 41) bt Canada 228 for seven in 50 overs (A. Samad 36, A. Mulla 58, D. Chumney 27 not out, S. Dhaniram 30). England won by 51 runs. Group D:

Ireland 221 for nine in 50 overs (J. Bray 115, A. White 28) v Zimbabwe 221 in 50 overs (V. Sibanda 67, S. Matsikenyeri 73 not out). Match tied.