Ben Foakes had made a grand debut in Tests during England’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2018. His century in Galle set the tone as England secured a historic 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka. On his ODI debut against Ireland in 2019, Foakes had to bat out of his skin to rescue England from a precarious position. He responded by smashing 61 and sharing a 98-run stand with Tom Curran (47) as England got their World Cup preparation off to a shaky start with a four-wicket win against Ireland in a match reduced to 45 overs due to rain. England chose to bowl after the rain-break and they handed a debut to Foakes, Dawid Malan and Jofra Archer, who returned from the IPL for Rajasthan Royals.
William Porterfield and Paul Stirling stitched a 55-run stand for the opening wicket. However, Tom Curran removed Stirling for 33 and that set about a collapse in the middle order. Liam Plunkett combined with Curran and ran through the lower middle order. Plunkett picked up 4/35 while Curran ended with 3/35 and it only took a cameo from Mark Aidar who smashed 32 off 30 balls to help them reach 198. Archer, who had put in a solid performance for the Rajasthan Royals, managed to take his maiden international wicket by getting rid of Aidar.
In response, England started disastrously. After a solid 35-run opening stand between James Vince and Malan, left-arm pacer Joshua Little, who was also making his ODI debut ran riot, taking four wickets and he was well backed up by Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin. At 101/6, Ireland was on the cusp of securing yet another win but Foakes, along with Curran rebuilt the innings. Foakes broke the shackles by clobbering Rankin for a six and a four in the 33rd over while Curran gave him good company.
A four each by Curran and Foakes off Little swung the momentum towards England and victory was sealed in the 43rd over. Speaking after the end of the match, England skipper Eoin Morgan admitted that some batsmen batted poorly. “At certain stages, we knew it would be challenging. The bowlers did a great job, 3 or 4 of us batted very poorly. Foakes and Curran put a great partnership, his keeping was great as well. Jofra started well, it's difficult to start off on your debut, but it was a good day out, got some overs behind them.”
England will now take on Pakistan in the one-off Twenty20 International in Cardiff before playing five ODIs.