IRELAND pulled off another World Cup upset over a Test-playing nation after big innings from Ed Joyce and Andy Belbirnie proved just enough to hold off Zimbabwe by five runs in Pool B in Hobart yesterday.
Alex Cusack (4-32) claimed two wickets in the final over after Joyce smashed a century at more than a run-a-ball to help Ireland to a big score of 331-8.
Player of the match Joyce made 112 runs off 103 balls with nine fours and three sixes at Bellerive Oval and shared Ireland’s biggest ODI third-wicket stand of 138 with Belbirnie, who scored 97 off 79 with seven fours and four sixes before he was run out in the final over.
“I thought it was a very good score, knew it was a very good wicket, but we knew it was going to be difficult, especially with the short square boundaries,” Ireland captain William Porterfield said.
Zimbabwe are now effectively eliminated from the World Cup, while Ireland remain in quarter-final contention.
The Irish bowlers made the most of the new ball and John Mooney (2-58) broke through in the eighth over when he had Sikandar Raza caught by Paul Stirling at slip for 12 and Cusack dismissed Chamunorwa Chibhabha in the next over for 18.
Kevin O’Brien (2-90) had Hamilton Masakadza caught behind for five in the 11th over and George Dockrell dismissed Solomon Mire (11) shortly after to leave Zimbabwe reeling at 74-4. Stand-in captain Brendan Taylor drove 11 boundaries and four sixes in an imperious century before becoming Cusack’s second victim when he lofted a slower delivery to Kevin O’Brien at mid-on.
Sean Williams hit seven boundaries and two sixes in his 96 before falling victim to O’Brien and opening the floodgates as Ireland made short work of the tail.
Earlier, Zimbabwe made a bright start after winning the toss and electing to bowl when Tinashe Panyangara dismissed Stirling in just the third over.
Porterfield steadied the innings in a 63-run partnership with Joyce before he was caught by Masakadza at mid-off for 29 off Williams.
After Joyce became Chatara’s first victim, caught by Craig Ervine, Chatara next claimed O’Brien, caught by Regis Chakabva for 24.
“I had a lot of luck early on before I got to 30 or 40, and I needed that,” Joyce said.
Williams dismissed Gary Wilson for 25 and Ireland then relinquished three wickets for just 18 runs.
In Auckland, Pakistan pulled off a thrilling 29-run win over South Africa.
Pakistan scored just 222 in their rain-affected innings at Eden Park and appeared headed for defeat.
The Proteas, needing 232 to win under the Duckworth-Lewis system, raced to 67-1 after nine overs but then collapsed, losing five wickets for 35 runs. Kipper AB De Villiers hit 77 off 58 balls, but it wasn’t quite enough as the team was all out for 202.
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