Englands T20 World Cup hopes took an unexpected dent on Wednesday as they fell to a five-run defeat to Ireland in a rain-affected contest in Melbourne.

Jos Buttler’s side were 105-5 after 14.3 overs, chasing a total of 157, when officials were left with no choice but to bring an early end to the contest amid a downpour in Victoria.

With the weather having already forced a delay upon the Group 1 game, time subsequently ran out for a restart, and with England trailing the DLS par of 110 by five runs, it was Andrew Balbirnie’s men who took a famous win.

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The Ireland captain has initially helped fire his team to their first innings total with 62 off 47 deliveries, though a flurry of wickets forced a collapse from 103-1 to restrict their final score.

But early losses for England saw them fail to strike any sense of rhythm, with Buttler (0) and Alex Hales (7) dismissed inside the first three overs as they limped to 86-5 following a poor power play.

Moeen Ali (24 not out) provided some hope, with fellow big-hitter Liam Livingstone (one not out) also at the crease, but the rain ensured there would be no grandstand finish.

Irish delight

England were strong favourites to claim a sixth T20I victory in a row away from home but failed to deliver against Ireland, the second-lowest ranked side in the competition.

It blows Group 1 wide open and means England will now likely need to beat Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka in their remaining matches to advance to the semi-finals.

No late heroics

Moeen surpassed 1,000 runs for England in the format, making him the eighth player to do so, in what appeared to be a turning point as he struck three fours and one six.

Rain put paid to any hope of a late turnaround, though that is not to say Ireland were fortunate, with their result very much a deserved win on the back of a heavy loss to Sri Lanka.