Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Adil Rashid took his first five-for in ODI cricket to help England demolish Ireland by seven wickets in the first ODI in Bristol.
The match was a historic one as well as it was the first time the two nations met on English soil.
Opting to bat first, Ireland got off to a solid start before Paul Stirling, who made 20, was clean bowled by a returning Mark Wood, who, prior to this, had not played ODI cricket since September 2016.
With Wood having struck in the sixth over, England only had to wait until the next over to get their second wicket as Ed Joyce was trapped lbw off the bowling of David Willey for 23.
With Ireland having lost their openers in quick succession, they began to rebuild their innings, but just as they seemed to be getting back on track, Andy Balbirnie was caught behind off the bowling of Jake Ball for 30.
Once captain William Porterfield was taken out by Joe Root for 13, Rashid wreaked havoc on the middle and lower order as Ireland went from 90/4 to being bundled out for 126.
Rashid was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Root snapped up two, and Willey, Wood and Ball chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 127 to win, England lost opener Jason Roy for a duck, but Alex Hales and Root stabilised the innings with a 77-run partnership, during which Hales brought up his fifty.
However, he was unable to make the most of it as he was dismissed by Peter Chase for 55 off 39 balls, which included 10 boundaries.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Even though captain Eoin Morgan fell shortly after, Root and Jonny Bairstow mopped up the remaining runs to lead England to victory with 30 overs to spare.
Root finished on 49 off 52 balls, which included seven boundaries, while Bairstow remained undefeated on 10 off 15 deliveries, which included one boundary.
Chase took all three of the wickets that fell.
Porterfield was disappointed with his side’s performance, and said: “The first five or six overs with the bat we looked like we could put a score on the board but we were in trouble once we lost Stirlo and Joyce. We knew there would be a bit of nibble [batting first] but we thought we could build a platform for the lads at the end.
“When it comes to this stage, games come thick and fast, it’s more of a mental thing, to put yourself back on track. We’ve had a lot of support here today and they’ll be there at Lord’s, so we’ve got to out [and put on] a performance for them.”
Morgan was thrilled with his side’s dominant win, and said: “Very pleased, pretty convincing, we bowled one or two bad balls in the first ten overs but it was a good wicket, probably the best Bristol wicket we’ve played on, so losing the toss wasn’t a bad thing.
“Adil today, it shows the threat leg-spin poses, turning it both ways, he’s very threatening. [Mark Wood?] First game back it’s important to get overs under your belt, manage the expectation, important he builds up momentum to the Champions Trophy. [Rashid?] He’s had a tough winter playing against high-calibre opposition, so to come back and show calmness and composure was great.
“I think we have a stiffer test with the South Africa series coming up, it’s part and parcel of our preparation. Take nothing away from Ireland, they have the ability to beat any side, so we need to start again at Lord’s. I think on any given day we probably do [know our best XI], given one or two changes for conditions, that’s important going into a competition.”
Rashid was named Man of the Match, and said: “I feel quite confident at the moment, feel pretty good. It’s come from hard work in the nets and practice, knowing my fields, knowing how you feel on a good day and when you don’t feel so good. [Favourite ball?] Sometimes it’s the googly, sometimes the leggie, I just try and bowl my variations and feel comfortable with that.”