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Zimbabwe v Ireland
Jamaica, 15 March 2007

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World Cup Group D, Jamaica: Ireland 221-9 (50 ovs) tied with Zimbabwe 221 (50 ovs)

Ireland celebrate
Ireland put pressure on a jittery Zimbabwean batting line-up
Ireland's first World Cup appearance ended in a pulsating tie against Zimbabwe in Jamaica.

Zimbabwe looked to be in command in pursuit of 222 with only 15 needed from 36 balls and four wickets intact.

But three wickets fell for one run and nine were still needed from the final over. Requiring a single to win off the last ball, Ed Rainsford was run out.

Jeremy Bray earlier led Ireland to a challenging total, carrying his bat for 115 - his second ODI century.

Both teams' fortunes fluctuated throughout the match, but the pressure was more keenly felt by Zimbabwe, who had won only one of their previous 15 one-day internationals.

Stuart Matsikenyeri lofted a six to take the runs required below 100, only for two wickets to fall in successive overs.

Vusi Sibanda, having made 67, trod on his stumps playing back and Elton Chigumbura was caught by a diving Bray at mid-on.

With 37 needed, Matsikenyeri lofted spinner Kyle McCallan to long-on only for Bray to spill him and the ball to trickle away for four.

With Matsikenyeri's fifty up, it looked like Ireland's last chance had gone, but there were more twists to come.

Brendan Taylor was run-out in the most unfortunate circumstances, McCallan getting a touch on Matsikenyeri's fierce straight drive and the ball fizzing into the stumps with Taylor out of his ground.

Jeremy Bray
Bray hit 115 against Scotland in the World Cricket League

With three overs left Zimbabwe still looked to have the game won, needing 10 with four wickets intact, but Gary Brent fell to a slower ball.

Kevin O'Brien was brought back to bowl the 48th over and began with a wide full toss, but Prosper Utseya slapped it straight to the fielder at short cover.

From the final ball of the over, Christopher Mpofu lost all composure and ended up at the same end as Matsikenyeri.

One consolation for Zimbabwe was Matsikenyeri being on strike for the final over, and he picked up a brace of twos before another moment of high drama.

Matsikenyeri sliced the erratic spin of Andrew White to backward point but Trent Johnston just failed to claim one of the great catches when he spilled a diving one-handed effort.

Rainsford calmly stroked a single from the fourth ball, allowing his partner to pick up two from the fifth.

But he could make no contact with the final ball, and to the delight of the excited Irish followers, one of the great matches finished in only the third tie in World Cup history.

On an overcast day at Sabina Park, rangy seamer Christopher Mpofu produced an excellent opening over, getting William Porterfield to nibble at one that pitched just outside off-stump.

Wicket-keeper Taylor could only parry the chance, but Sibanda reacted quickly from second slip to snaffle the rebound before it dropped.

Bray quickly seized on any width, and in the fifth over cut a four followed by an even fiercer struck shot that went all the way over the rope.

Eoin Morgan had a charmed life and hit four boundaries before another edge was taken in the 10th over.

In the next, Niall O'Brien gave Taylor a straightforward catch as Elton Chigumbura sent down a wicket-maiden.

The fourth wicket fell as Andre Botha shouldered arms to a straight delivery and the fifth arrived with only 22 overs completed, Kevin O'Brien getting himself caught behind.

White's 28 helped to record a fifty partnership in 86 balls with Bray.

Following a 25-minute delay for rain, it looked as though Bray was going to be denied a century when two wickets fell in four balls to leave Ireland 182-8 and the opener on 91.

But in the 48th over he drove a full toss behind square to the boundary, and the Irish 200 followed two balls later.


Ireland: J P Bray, W T S Porterfield, E J G Morgan N J O'Brien (wkt), K J O'Brien, A C Botha, W K McCallan D T Johnston (capt), A R White, D Langford-Smith, W B Rankin.

Zimbabwe: V Sibanda, T Duffin, C J Chibhabha, S C Williams S Matsikenyeri, E Chigumbura, B R M Taylor (wkt), G B Brent P Utseya (capt), C B Mpofu, E C Rainsford.

Umpires: B Jerling (SA), I Gould (Eng)

WHO'S WHO AT THE WORLD CUP
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SEE ALSO
Ireland - Three to watch
14 Feb 07 |  International Teams
Zimbabwe - Three to watch
15 Feb 07 |  Zimbabwe
Cricket World Cup 2007 schedule
20 Jul 05 |  Cricket
Your Cricket World Cup photos
07 Mar 07 |  Cricket
Cricket World Cup form guide
20 Feb 07 |  Cricket
BBC World Cup coverage
21 Feb 07 |  Cricket


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