David Willey celebrated his return to the England team with a maiden one-day international five-wicket haul as the world champions drew first blood in the Royal London series against Ireland at the Ageas Bowl.
Willey was dropped from England’s World Cup squad last year to make room for Jofra Archer, but with several regulars absent due to their test commitments the left-armer took centre stage on his international return.
In England’s first home ODI since winning their first 50-over World Cup, Willey’s 5-30 restricted Ireland to 172 all out in 44.4 overs, a total the hosts overhauled with six wickets to spare.
England had lurched to 78-4 but Sam Billings, included after Joe Denly’s withdrawal due to a back injury, settled the team’s nerves with a 67 not out off 54 deliveries in an unbroken 96-run stand with Eoin Morgan.
England got over the line with 22.1 overs still remaining at the start of a three-ODI series that marks the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League.
forming part of the qualification process for India 2023.
The two teams will now face each other in the second ODI at the same venue on Saturday.
Brief Scores: Ireland 172 (Curtis Campher 59*, Andy McBrine 40; David Willey 5/30), England
174/4 (Sam Billings 67*, Eoin Morgan 36*; Craig Young 2/56).