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Ireland seal shock T20 World Cup victory over England

Rain stopped play in Melbourne, leaving England five runs from victory.

England’s Twenty20 World Cup dreams have been dealt a severe blow with an unexpected five-run loss to Ireland in Australian rain.

England were 105 from five midway through the 15th, chasing 158 for the win, with Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone on batting duty at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Wednesday when play was halted by rain.

After a further 15-minute break, the match was called off and the DLS scoring system, which is used in cricket when games cannot be run in full due to the break, left England five runs short of their target.

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It is their second major victory in this tournament after also beating two-time former champions West Indies.

England, among the tournament favourites, now face champions Australia at the MCG on Friday in a stern test of their World Cup aspirations.

Earlier England captain Jos Buttler sent for Ireland, but after a short delay they only managed nine balls before rain forced them off the field.

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Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie broke 62 to give his team a great start, but they could only manage 157 in total with Livingstone and Mark Wood taking three wickets each.

Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker (34) shared an 82-run stoppage, dishing out particular punishment to Chris Woakes, who scored 41 from three overs.

Ireland raced to 92-1 in 10 overs before a collapse in the middle order saw them all out with four balls remaining.

In response, England’s batting line-up struggled to pick up momentum, falling to 29 from three with just one limit in the first five overs as the Irish bowlers found rhythm and movement.

Eighteen minutes were lost due to rain early in the game and the players were taken out again, this time for good, with England at 105 for five from 14.3 overs just as Moeen Ali was recovering on 24 from 12 balls.

When rain stopped play again, now for the last time, England were considered five runs behind, giving Ireland a famous victory.

“It’s amazing, it’s emotional,” said Balbirnie, the man of the match. “Our message was just to create chances and we know how this England team like to play, if we took every chance we would have a chance. This will do a lot to grow the game at home.”

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