World Cup: Bangalore’s new hero

Richard Kemp, from Hereford, has headed to India to follow England at the World Cup. He saw Irish history made at Bangalore…

‘Come on TJ!’ came the cry of encouragement towards Trent Johnston from the lone Irish fan sat in the row next to me. If truth be told it seemed a bit of a lost cause as KP spanked yet another boundary to the delight of the many locals that had crammed into the cheap seats to witness their Royal Challenger put the Irish in their place.

The locals had come into the ground for this neutral game to witness the sheer power, skill and talent of a man called Kevin. They started by chanting the name ‘Pietetsen’. They ended it by singing the name of ‘O’Brien’. Ireland and Bangalore has a new hero.

We were treated to 90 minutes of ridiculously good cricket from a natural biffer reminiscent of – Andrew Flintoff. Not just in terms of his stature but the way he powerfully struck the ball over the ropes with ease. Over and over and over again.

As frustrating as it was to watch England’s finest bowl as poorly as they did, you couldn’t help but admire it. The Indian and Irish among the crowd seemed to come together with every lusty blow O’Brien dished out to England’s helpless bowlers. People seemed to come off the streets as the innings wore on. Word had spread about arguably the greatest innings in the history of the World Cup taking place in Bangalore. The knowledgeable and excitable Indian crowd wanted a piece.

If O’Brien can come close to replicating what he achieved against England then I suspect India may just have a new fans’ favourite.

Just as long as he doesn’t do it against the hosts on Sunday …

Richard Kemp is on his eighth cricket tour with the English side and is a keen travel and cricket writer. See his blog here

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