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Kevin O’Brien, Ireland’s hero of Bangalore, retires from ODI cricket

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Allrounder steps down from 50-over format but will continue in Tests and T20Is

Kevin O’Brien, the Ireland allrounder whose record-breaking hundred stunned England at the 2011 World Cup, has announced his retirement from the 50-over format.

O’Brien, 37, will carry on playing at Test and T20I level, but has chosen to bow out of the format in which he made his debut against England as a 22-year-old in 2006, in Ireland’s first full ODI. He went on to make 3618 runs from 153 ODIs, and claim 114 wickets, the most by any Ireland bowler. His 68 outfield catches is another national record, while he played 95 of his matches alongside his elder brother, Niall, who retired in 2018.

“After 15 years playing for Ireland, I feel now is the right time to step away and retire from ODI cricket,” O’Brien said. “It has been an honour and a privilege to represent my country 153 times. The memories I take from them will last a lifetime”.

Those memories include appearances at three World Cups, including the 2007 event in the Caribbean, the moment when Ireland truly made their mark on international cricket.

Their historic victory over Pakistan at Sabina Park sent shockwaves through the sport, and O’Brien played an integral role in Ireland’s tense run-chase, digging in from an unbeaten 16 from 52 balls to guard against a collapse before the captain Trent Johnston struck the winning six to seal a three-wicket win.
However, it was four years later at the 2011 event in India that O’Brien played the innings for which he will forever be remembered – a breath-taking knock of 113 from 63 balls in Bangalore, including a century from 50 balls that remains the fastest in World Cup history.

Replying to England’s imposing total of 327 for 8, Ireland had slumped to 106 for 4 when he arrived at the crease, which soon became 111 for 5. But he responded to the adversity with an outrageous counterattack, cracking 13 fours and six sixes, before falling in the penultimate over with 11 runs still needed. However, John Mooney kept his cool to seal the chase, with Johnston again unbeaten at the other end.

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