Ireland win in final-ball thriller

Ireland

Ireland won their vital World Twenty20 qualifier against Zimbabwe in Sylhet by three wickets, though they made the going tough for themselves and took it down to the final ball, where a madcap single won it.

Ireland won their vital World Twenty20 qualifier against Zimbabwe in Sylhet by three wickets, though they made the going tough for themselves and took it down to the final ball, where a madcap single won it.

Zimbabwe batted first at the new venue and scored 163 for five, which skipper Brendan Taylor felt was 20 runs short, when asked at the break. This proved to be the case, as Paul Stirling's 60 proved enough of a base for the tight win.

The men in red were put in to bat and lost the wicket of Sikandar Raza in the second over. This left Taylor, who went on to make the first half century of the tournament, to settle the nerves alongside Hamilton Masakadza.

The veteran pairing took the score to 56 in the seventh over, going at a good clip, but then wickets fell regularly from there on in as Ireland's spinners contained the African side's batsmen.

Taylor was out for 59 off 46 balls, removed by George Dockrell. The spinner also added Vusi Sibanda to his records for 16, while Andy McBrine bagged Masakadza and Sean Williams.

The final runs came from Elton Chigumbura and Timycen Maruma, who made 22 and 13 respectively, but is immediately felt like too little, despite the excitement that later transpired.

Ireland's chase went well for the most part, with Stirling and William Porterfield putting on nearly half the runs off the first wicket alone. They made 80 together, before the skipper was removed by Williams for 31.

Ed Joyce and Andrew Poynter also added nifty knocks of 22 and 23 apiece, and with the score on 129 with plenty of time to go, it looked all over bar the shouting. But then Tinashe Panyangara threw a spanner in the works.

The fast bowler took three quick wickets, including Gary Wilson for a duck, to set the game on its head. Kevin O'Brien's cameo of 17 was also cut short by Panyangara, and suddenly only three runs came off the penultimate Tendai Chatara over.

Ireland needed four off six balls but nearly made a hash of it as Joyce was bowled by Panyangara and Max Sorensen was run out next ball. Then it was two from three balls, and then two from two. And then a single, making it one off the last.

The delivery ended up passing Alex Cusack's bat, straight to Taylor behind the stumps, but he was not standing up, so the mad dash for a single ended in him missing his under hand throw, players crashing into each other, and Ireland winning by the skin of their teeth.

Ireland: Will Porterfield, Kevin O'Brien, Max Sorensen, Alex Cusack, Paul Stirling, Ed Joyce, Gary Wilson, George Dockrell, Stuart Thompson, Andy McBrine, Andrew Poynter

Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor, Hamilton Masakadza, Vusi Sibanda, Elton Chigumbura, Timycen Maruma, Sikandar Raza, Prosper Utseya, Tinashe Panyangara, Sean Williams, Tendai Chatara, Tafadzwa Kamungozi

Latest