Billings & Willey Steer England to Victory in First ODI against Ireland

Sam Billings struck his best ODI score of 67 to lead England to victory in the first ODI against Ireland.

On a sun-soaked evening in Southampton, England restricted Ireland to a mediocre 172 thanks to the bowling of David Willey, who having missed out on a World Cup place in 2019, may have been making a statement to his captain, in much the same manner as Stuart Broad did to Joe Root.

Willey was magnificent for England, taking 5 wickets for just 30 runs for a stingy economy rate of 3.46. Ireland were reduced to just 28-5, but put up a semi defendable target thanks to the effort of debutant Curtis Campher who scored an unbeaten 59 and looked calm and collected as senior players looked frentic.

Willey was superb and Adil Rashid showed some superb control and turn on his deliveries with Ireland struggling to pick up the Googly.

England's run chase got off to a shaky start, finding themselves four down with just 78 runs on the board with Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, James Vince and Tom Banton all being dismissed with Vince top-scoring on 25.

James Vince continued to frustrate, playing his way in, striking some beautiful boundaries before nicking behind off the bowling of Young.

Ireland could do nothing to stop Kent batsmen Sam Billings and England captain Eoin Morgan (36) chasing down the total with over 20 overs remaining in the game. Sam Billings in particular striking the ball cleanly and punishing some sloppy Ireland bowling.

Until Billings entered the game, you'd be forgiven for being underwhelmed with England's batting display on what looked like a lovely track for batting. However, some rust was expected with many of the players having not played competitive cricket for months.

With England missing some stars in Joe Root, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, Sam Billings made the most of his opportunity.

England will move onto the 2nd ODI on Satuday, knowing they dominated, yet understanding they still have work to do. They'll also take 10 points in the newly formed ICC cricket Super League, which will determine the 2023 World Cup participants in India.


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