|ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Pool 1, Melbourne|
|Ireland 157 (20 overs): Balbirnie 62 (47); Livingstone 3-17, Wood 3-34|
|England 105-5 (14.3 overs): Malan 35 (37); 2-16 small|
|Ireland won by five runs (DLS method)|
England suffered a major upset at the Men’s T20 World Cup as an inspired Ireland and rain seriously tarnished their title hopes in Melbourne.
After a surprisingly modest performance chasing 158, England, one of the tournament favourites, were 105-5 when the rain arrived.
With England five runs behind the required rate, Ireland secured a five-run victory by the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method when the match was abandoned.
The results do not end England’s hopes of progressing from Group 1, but they will likely need to beat Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in their remaining matches.
After slipping to 86-5, the rain came as Moeen Ali began to regain some momentum for England, hitting three boundaries in five balls.
But it proved too little too late, with England left in top-order collapse before returning to the Melbourne Cricket Ground for a crucial match against Australia at 09:00 BST on Friday.
England again upset with Ireland
The timing of the rain was unfortunate: one more ball and a six from Moeen would have taken him ahead of the required score.
England, however, can have few complaints. Their performance was subpar with both bat and ball.
Ireland have done this before, beating England in the 2011 Over-50 World Cup in Bangalore, but are the remaining runners-up in this competition.
England’s tactics with the bat were strange.
After losing captain Jos Buttler for a duck in the second innings, they struggled to find time, hitting just eight boundaries in 87 balls.
With around 10 runs over the required rate, they were looking to take long-on boundaries at the MCG with Harry Brook caught on the mid-off fence by George Dockrell’s spin.
All this came after the opposition managed to claw their way back after a false start, leaving the men in green 102-1 after 12 overs.
England collapsed to 9-54, giving them what looked like a viable chase, but now their hopes of a second T20 world title are in jeopardy.
Friday’s match against Australia, which Sri Lanka lost to New Zealand before beating them, is now a knock-out match.
Batsmen struggle in Melbourne
Buttler blamed the first 10 overs of the match as the reason for the defeat, admitting they were still favorites at the halfway mark.
Left-armer Josh Little was caught behind driving, then caught at short leg by Alex Hales as the opener fired a shot.
Ben Stokes’ struggles continued as he made six off eight balls before being bowled by an inswinger from Fionn Hand.
Dawid Malan’s innings summed up England’s struggles. He lasted 37 balls for his 35 but rarely timed a ball in that knock.
Ireland bowled with precision, showing England the way, and capitalized on the swing and seam brought on by the rain before the match.
Only Moeen found his rhythm – he had 24 off 12 balls when the rain came, including the sixth of the innings when he bowled leg-spinner Gareth Delany down the ground.
More to follow.