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David Willey, Sam Billings produce career-best figures as England trounce Ireland in 1st ODI

Ireland challenged England several times in the 1st ODI on Thursday, but David Willey (5/30) and Sam Billings (67*) produced superlative performances at either end of the match to take England to a 6-wicket win with 22.1 overs to spare.

By: Sports Desk | Updated: July 31, 2020 1:58:21 pm
David Willey celebrates one of his wickets vs Ireland on Thursday (Twitter/Irelandcricket)

England coasted to a 6-wicket victory in the 1st ODI vs Ireland in Southampton on Thursday, even though Ireland challenged them at several points in the match. David Willey (5/30) and Sam Billings (67*) produced their best-ever ODI performances to stake a claim to the full-string England side which will next be seen in the series against Pakistan.

David Wiley, playing his first ODI since before the 2019 World Cup, announced himself with a bang in his comeback match. Willey was one of England’s best bowlers during the four-year cycle leading to the 2019 World Cup but had been dropped last year.

The left-armer, particularly lethal against right-handers, with an average of 17.6 against them since 2018, first removed Paul Stirling and then quickly made it two wickets in two overs when he enticed captain Andy Balbirnie to get a knick through to the keeper. A couple of overs later, he picked two more wickets to leave Ireland tottering at 28/5 after 7 overs.

Statistics show 55.35% of Willey’s ODI wickets have been of top three batsmen. This shows how effective he is in the powerplay overs.

David Willey’s length in the first ODI.

Ireland recovered from Willey’s opening spell, as Kevin O’Brien and debutant Curtis Campher put on a 51-run stand. O’Brien fell to a rash shot but Campher carried on, taking Ireland across 100 in the 31st over. He became just the third Ireland player to score a 50 on ODI debut (opposition captain Eoin Morgan had been the first, in 2006). Ireland lost their last wicket, with Campher (59*) being the unbeaten batsman at the end.

In their chase, England scored briskly but kept losing regular wickets, being in trouble at 78/4 at one stage. However, Morgan and Billings then restored order to the chase.

Billings, whose place even in the XI in the 1st ODI might have been in jeopardy if Joe Denly had been fit, staked a claim to the full-string England team as well, with a knock that oozed fluency from start to finish. He brought up his 50 balls, as Morgan, who had dropped himself down the order to give the likes of Billings a chance, joined him in his disdainful swatting away of Irish hopes.

Morgan (36*) and Billings attacked the Irish bowlers, even though they had lost early wickets. Ireland, who had lost the services of their strike bowler Barry McCarthy as early as in the first over, saw the match slip away out of their hands as the duo put on a 96-run stand to take the home team to shore with considerable ease.

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