Six After Six - Ireland's Cricket World Cup
Ger Siggins Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien with Gerard Siggins

Brickfields Press, 2011
ISBN 9780956963802.
Softback, 122pp.

Price: €12.99

It was a steamy night in Bangalore. It was noisy in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium and the air was heavy with humidity. It was England versus Ireland in the Cricket World Cup, a match that would turn out to be one of the greatest upsets in the long history of the game.

England had scored 327, and Ireland were 111 for 5. The English journalists in the press box had begun updating their Facebook pages or Twitter feeds, thinking the match was over as a contest.

They reckoned without one Kevin O'Brien, who scored the fastest century in World Cup history and dispatched the cream of England's bowling at all parts of the ground.

O'Brien scored 113 runs off 63 balls that night, hitting 13 fours and six sixes as Ireland chased down England's total. It was, as England batting legend Geoffrey Boycott conceded, one of the great one-day innings.

Ireland's victory transcended the narrow confines of the sport in Ireland. People who had no interest in cricket, or who actively disliked it, were caught up in the drama of that famous night.

Suddenly, everyone wanted to know about O'Brien, and why he'd dyed his hair purple (the Shave or Dye fundraiser), where he came from (the Railway Union club in Dublin's Sandymount) and whether they had any more like him (they did - his older brother Niall has more runs in fewer matches for Ireland).

Ireland beat Holland in that World Cup, and lost to Bangladesh, the West Indies, India and South Africa. But it was the victory against England that everyone remembers, the drama of it, the seemingly impossible total of 328 required to win, the faltering start made by Ireland (opening batsman William Porterfield was out for 0) and then the flashing bat of Kevin O'Brien.

Now Ger Siggins, the doyen of Irish cricket writers, has, in collaboration with Kevin O'Brien, given an insider's account of the tournament and the England match.

Review by Sunday Independent, 22 August 2011

England's cricketers this week get their chance to extract revenge for one of their most humiliating defeats.

Losing to Ireland was a huge shock for players who glory in their exalted status as No 1 test team.

The man who drove Ireland to victory, Kevin O'Brien, has written his account of the World Cup, published this weekend.

'Six After Six' is a colourful story of the fastest century maker in the history of the competition.

O'Brien pulls back the veil on one of the game's mysteries - what players actually say to each other out in the middle.

The Englishmen's jibes come across as pathetic, and O'Brien was quick to put them down:

'... just after I got to fifty, James Anderson bowled a ball at my feet. I got my bat down on it just in time.

'Good ball Jimmy', I said to him.

Anderson's face darkened and snapped back 'What would you know what a good ball is?'

'Well I mightn't know what a good ball is,' I came back with, 'but I know a bad one. I just hit your last one over there,' as I pointed my bat towards the grandstand.