Bangalore, March 2: Just as colourful as his bleach-blond hair with discordant streaks of pink was his sprightly batting in the enthralling World Cup tie against England on Wednesday. Kevin O'Brien burst his way into World Cup record books, by becoming the fastest century-maker in the global event, his ton coming off just 50 balls in an innings replete with 13 fours and 6 towering sixes. It was a knock that was truly a spectacle to behold, something that thoroughly entertained the meagre crowd that had gathered to witness it, just as much as the larger audiences all across the cricketing world.
Brutal, blazing and blistering are the words that would fitfully sum his onslaught with the bat against an English side that didn't quite seem to know what had hit them. Victory appeared to be terribly improbable when he walked to the crease at 111/5 in 24.3 overs. But no sooner had he opened his account than he signaled a resounding intention not to surrender meekly.
This open show of defiance was initiated with two flayed sixes over midwicket off England's most successful bowler of the innings till then. To K O'Brien, it didn't matter that off-spinner Graeme Swann had scalped three of his team-mates in a miserly spell. He was going to treat Swann with outright disdain, ending up taking 22 runs off him. He went on to employ this very attitude against the rest of England's gamut of bowlers.
The pace attack just crumbled to his might, as he smoked James Anderson and Tim Bresnan for two sixes and two fours each, knocking off a total of nearly 50 runs between them. Slow-left-armer Michael Yardy came in for the most tap at the receiving end of O'Brien's blitz, going for 5 fours and a total off 26 runs. O'Brien only accorded a little respect to Stuart Broad, off whom he took 10 runs and Paul Collingwood whom he picked for a mere 7.
Not to be forgotten are the useful hands played by Alex Cusack (47 off 58) and John Mooney (33 off 30) as they readily joined in the carnage of the English bowlers. But with notching up one of the all-time great one-day centuries, Kevin O'Brien has put himself on the international map and might just prove hot property when the Indian Premier League's next auction rolls around. Make room, Yusuf Pathan and Kevin Pietersen; Kevin O'Brien is here!