Ireland has taken a massive step towards the ICC Cricket World Cup quarter-finals after a dramatic five run win over Zimbabwe in Hobart on Saturday. The Zimbabweans sent the Irish in to bat and Paul Stirling was out for just 10 before skipper William Porterfield departed for 29. At 79/2 after 20.1 overs the innings was finely balanced before Ed Joyce and Andy Balbirnie carved out a superb 137 run stand for the third wicket.
Joyce was caught by Sean Ervine off Tendai Chatara for 112 from 102 balls including nine fours and three sixes. Balbirnie would hit 97 from 79 deliveries with seven fours and four maximums. Good hitting by the middle order powered the Irish to 331/8. Chatara’s 3/61 made him the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers while Sean Williams claimed 3/72.
After Chamu Chibhabha and Sikandar Raza put on an opening partnership of 32 the batting side slumped 41/3 before losing the last member of the top four on 74. Captain for the day Brendan Taylor and Williams got together and put the Zim train back on track. Taylor hit 121 from only 91 balls including 11 fours and four sixes.
However Williams started to run out of partners and he too was out for 96 with the southern Africans on 300/7 needing 32 from 19 balls. Tawanda Mupariwa staged a late fight to bring his side to the brink but he became Alex Cusack’s fourth victim as the Emerald Island won by just five runs with three balls to spare. Cusack finished with 4/32.