The Irish players celebrated after the stunning victory.
Almost 20 years ago, John Major, the British Conservative prime minister, gave a speech that was cringe-inducingly nostalgic, even by Tory standards.
"Fifty years on from now," he said, "Britain will still be the country of long shadows on cricket grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs, dog lovers and pools fillers and, as George Orwell said, 'Old maids bicycling to holy communion through the morning mist' and, if we get our way, Shakespeare will still be read even in school."
Blimey, what would Shakespeare say? Personally, given the circumstances, I'm partial to that line he gave Helena in "All's Well That Ends Well."
Oft expectation fails, and most oft there
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most fits.
It was pretty cold and despairing for England in Bangalore, where all expectations failed, and those nice Indian people working in the call centers took the day off to watch Ireland make history at the expense of the unfortunate English.
Take my word for it: This is, in international sporting terms, a remarkable upset. Given the tortured -- but doing much better lately, thank you -- history of Anglo-Irish relations it's an even bigger deal. It's up there with the Americans beating the Soviets in ice hockey at the 1980 Olympics. It's as if Guam beat the United States in basketball. It's as if Burma beat China in ping pong.
It's as if England beat Ireland in hurling. Ha! Like that would ever happen.
It was even more remarkable because England appeared to have the game in the bag, having scored 327 runs for eight out. But Ireland's Kevin O'Brien gained immortality when he hit an incredible 113 runs from 63 balls, improbably positioning Ireland for a three-wicket win.
If you don't know what all that cricket jargon means, don't worry: neither do I.
O'Brien got a century -- 100 runs -- on just 50 balls. It was the fastest century in the history of the World Cup.
Cricket isn't exactly a huge sport in Ireland, not the least because of it being associated in many Irish minds with all things English and toffy. That said, many Irish people were transfixed in 2007, at the last World Cup, when Ireland established itself as a quality side, beating traditional powers Pakistan and Bangladesh.
And as Ireland's relationship with its neighboring island improves and matures, the nationalistic aversions to cricket are melting away even as Ireland's place in the international game is rising.
There are only six professional players in Ireland. For one of them, John Mooney, the professional contract arrived last year just in time: He had lost his job, like an increasing number of his countrymen, as an electrician.
It was fitting, then, that Mooney scored the winning run against England. He is a much-needed symbol of redemption in a country that has gone so quickly from boom to bust. He went from the dole queue to the history books, the man who was at bat when mighty England fell.
Poor England. Before World War II, the British empire counted 800 million subjects. Now all the colonies are gone. Worse, now all the colonies can beat England in cricket. India and Pakistan are cricket powers. The Aussies hold a 123-100 lead in the Australia-England competition known as The Ashes.
And now, nightmare of nightmares, Ireland.
Of course, in times like this, it's important to show class and dignity in victory. So I called the great Phil Budden, a fine Englishman, and Britain's consul general in Boston, to rub it in.
"What did you think of that cricket match?" I asked Phil Budden.
"What cricket match?" he replied.
Memo to Foreign Secretary William Hague: promote Phil Budden. Immediately. The man knows how to avoid the obvious.
Actually, Budden was preparing to join his Irish counterpart, Michael Lonergan, at a dinner in Boston featuring a group of English and Irish rugby greats. He had to be betting that Lonergan, a Limerick man raised on the Tipperary border, is more partial to rugby and hurling than cricket. Knowing Michael, that's a safe bet.
England is currently undefeated and the favorite to win the ongoing Six Nations rugby championship that includes Wales, Scotland, France, Ireland and Italy. In fact, England's final game in that competition is against Ireland on March 19. In Dublin.
I wouldn't bet against the boys in green as spoilers, but then it's all cricket to me.
E-mail Kevin Cullen at firstname.lastname@example.org. He was the Globe's bureau chief in Dublin and London. In his only attempt at cricket, playing for a club team at Trinity College in Dublin in 1980, he was bowled out on one ball. "I was looking for something high and inside," he lamented.
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