Curtis Campher: Ireland debutant showed great application, says captain Andrew Balbirnie

Curtis Campher
South-African born Campher struck four fours in his innings of 59 not out

Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie praised the performance of debutant Curtis Campher after his side went down to a six-wicket defeat in the first of three ODIs with England in Southampton.

The 21-year-old contributed an unbeaten 59 as Ireland rallied to make 172 from 44.4 overs after languishing on 28-5.

England replied with 174-4 off 27.5 overs to secure a comfortable win.

"Curtis played a really dogged innings which was exactly what we needed at the time," said Balbirnie.

"Coming in at 28-5 on your first appearance, there can be a lot of pressure, but he had great application and showed what it took to get a score on that wicket, so I'm delighted for him," he added.

"He came in at number seven and also took a wicket. It's a position we have been tinkering around with since the start of the year.

"He has come in without having played a game in Ireland because of the Covid-19 pandemic and he has impressed in the squad and earned his place."

Morgan on Willey and Billings

David Willey marked his England recall with a five-wicket haul, while Sam Billings starred with the bat, scoring 67.

"It's absolutely fantastic to get the juices flowing again playing international cricket. David Willey always puts his heart and soul into it and his skill level today was second to none," said England captain Eoin Morgan.

"For Sam Billings to come in was fantastic. We're a little bit spoilt but to produce it when the opportunity came and when we needed it - hats off to him.

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Billings hits unbeaten 67 in England victory

"Winning the toss and bowling first isn't necessarily always easy at a ground like this but David had an outstanding day.

"Given the story of where he's been in the last year, it's a fantastic story and comeback. He's always shown a lot of heart and soul but his skill-set today was exceptional.

"Him and Saqib Mahmood were outstanding, we pegged Ireland back. When chasing a low score it's always nice to get a partnership. we're delighted to be out playing, delighted Ireland have come and delighted to start the series with a win."

"The more times we can see guys in pressure situations, the more we get to find out about them. In the next two games, hopefully we'll be put under more significant pressure because we want these guys to push to be in our best 15."

McCarthy injury 'a big blow'

Ireland looked to have an outside chance of causing an upset when England were 78-4 in reply but a bowling attack that lost Barry McCarthy in the very first over through injury was unable to take any further wickets.

"I thought we bowled tidily, having lost Barry who leads the attack - that was a big blow but we battled back and the guys bowled a disciplined line and length.

"When you get a sniff against a team of that quality you really have to turn the screw and we didn't manage to do that today.

"It's a quick turnaround for the second game on Saturday so Barry will probably be struggling for that but hopefully he can maybe play a part on Tuesday."

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Willey claims five-wicket haul to set England up for victory

Few changes despite batting woes

Balbirnie lamented his side's batting performance but does not envisage making many changes for the next encounter between the teams at the same venue.

"We didn't adapt early on with the bat. England bowled pretty well at us but we should be good enough to be able to adapt to the conditions and realise what's required to get a good total on a wicket like that.

"We didn't put in the performance we would have liked but it's only fair to give the players a chance to redeem themselves.

"It probably wouldn't be fair to chop and change after one game so we should keep with a similar enough squad.

"I know we lost pretty badly to the world champions but it was good just to have the opportunity to play even though there weren't a lot of people in the ground to watch."