Ireland v England: Tourists overcome batting collapse to register four-wicket win
|One-day international, Malahide|
|Ireland 198 (43.1 overs): Stirling 33, Plunkett 4-35|
|England 199-6 (42 overs): Foakes 61*, T Curran 47*, Little 4-45|
|England won by four wickets|
England survived a scare to narrowly beat Ireland by four wickets in the one-day international at Malahide.
The tourists, chasing 199 to win, slipped to 46-3 and 101-6, with debutant Josh Little taking 4-45.
However, Ben Foakes' unbeaten half-century and 47 not out from Tom Curran helped guide the top-ranked one-day side to a scrappy victory.
Liam Plunkett was England's stand-out bowler, taking 4-35 as Ireland were bowled out for 198 in 43.1 overs.
Ireland have beaten England just once in their previous seven meetings, in the dramatic World Cup group game in 2011.
They came close in Malahide, combining excellent fielding with accurate bowling, but Foakes' innings proved the difference.
Had Ireland reviewed a close lbw shout against Foakes when he was on 37, he would have been given out, and England would have been struggling further.
However, Foakes stayed at the crease and ensured England avoided beginning a huge summer of cricket with a surprising loss.
England travel to Cardiff for a one-off Twenty20 against Pakistan on Sunday, before their five-match ODI series begins on Wednesday.
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Foakes leads way for England
England will go into this summer's World Cup as the favourites, having lost just one of their past eight ODI matches on home soil.
However, they were not convincing at times against Ireland's seam bowlers and the short ball.
Captain Eoin Morgan fended a bouncer from Little behind while Joe Denly pulled a Boyd Rankin short ball straight to the fielder at mid-wicket.
Ex-Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien told Test Match Special he had "never seen an international side play 80mph bouncers as poorly as England have today".
Ireland were equally good in the field: George Dockrell's stunning, diving catch dismissed opener James Vince, before wicketkeeper Gary Wilson took a low, one-handed grab to dismiss debutant Dawid Malan.
Led by Tim Murtagh, they were miserly in the middle overs, but Foakes struck a six and a four off Rankin in the 33rd over to tip the match in England's favour.
While Jofra Archer, making his international debut after qualifying to play for England in March, had dominated the build-up to the match, it was Foakes who impressed the most.
It was a patient innings from wicketkeeper Foakes, who brought up his half-century from 70 balls and occupied the crease for 119 minutes, but it was enough to seal victory.
Good but not enough from Ireland
With the match reduced to 45 overs a side after heavy rain on Friday, Ireland faced a tricky proposition batting first.
They made a good start on a pitch with a hint of grass on it, but they could not find a partnership to put pressure on the England bowlers.
They slipped from 55-0 to 77-4, with Paul Stirling and Kevin O'Brien both caught trying to be too aggressive, while Lorcan Tucker loosely chipped a slower ball from Plunkett to the cover fielder.
Foakes produced a clever stumping to dismiss Andrew Balbirnie - collecting a leg-side wide from Denly and then removing the bails as the batsman overbalanced and lifted his back foot off the ground.
Mark Adair provided a late cameo, twice hitting Curran into the stands for six, but he was underdone by a superb 90.3mph yorker from Archer as Ireland faded.
'We found a way to win' - what they said
England captain Eoin Morgan: "I knew it would be challenging at stages but the bowlers did a great job. Three or four of us batted poorly but Ben Foakes batted superbly on debut and he and Tom Curran got us over the line.
"We found a way to win today, which is nice."
England man of the match Ben Foakes: "They were tricky conditions - it was nipping about a bit - so with their bowlers we had to stick in and take what was on offer. Because we bowled so well and restricted them to less than 200, the run-rate never got beyond us."
Ireland captain William Porterfield: "There were tricky conditions in the morning but we wanted another partnership to free the guys up in the back end. But I can't fault the fight of my team. We had three debutants and none of them looked out of place."