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England v Ireland
Guyana, 30 March 2007

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Niall O'Brien
O'Brien defied England with a determined third ODI half-century
Ireland keeper-batsman Niall O'Brien admitted England's late flurry of runs proved costly in their 48-run defeat.

"We were a bit disappointed they got 266 we were hoping for 240, which would have been a reasonable target on that pitch," said O'Brien, who made 63.

"Collingwood played really well and hit the ball in good areas, even his mis-hits went for six.

"I felt in good nick but I think we lost our way in the middle when Vaughan and Panesar bowled well."

Spinners Vaughan and Panesar bowled in tandem and claimed three wickets, conceding only 65 runs between them in 19 overs.

"The pitch was quite slow and it was hard to get away but we could have rotated the strike a bit more," O'Brien admitted.

"We're not used to facing good spinners on these kind of pitches so it's something we'll be working hard on and hopefully we'll improve for the next game." [against South Africa on 3 April].

Answering the now familiar question of whether Ireland should be in the second stage of the prestigious tournament, the new Northants recruit said: "We're playing good cricket.

"For 80% of the game we played quite well. We deserve our place in the Super 8 and hopefully we'll create another shock or two."

Skipper Trent Johnston agreed the final stages of the England innings was an important area in the outcome of the match.

"Our death bowling wasn't up to scratch for this standard," he said.

"Paul Collingwood batted very well and then the two spinners, Michael and Monty, squeezed us in the middle and applied the pressure.

"We gave it a fight at the end and it's a tribute to the guys when Michael brings back Andrew Flintoff to clean up the tail.

"We're not used to playing at this level but it's an experience the guys are very much enjoying and we can only learn from this."

Johnston was full of praise for O'Brien, who recorded his second half-century of the competition, following his vital 72 in the victory over Pakistan.

"Niall's been hitting the ball well since being in the Caribbean," Johnston enthused.

"You don't get a cricketer who works harder at his game so I'm pleased for him, he's the backbone of our batting line-up.

"If we can bat around him we may be able to sneak a couple of upsets."

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