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Zimbabwe v Ireland
Jamaica, 15 March 2007

Test Match Special podcast | Blog

Ireland 221-9 v Zimbabwe 221 all out - match tied

Ireland's first World Cup appearance ended with a pulsating tied encounter 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 stumped.

Jeremy Bray helped Ireland to a challenging total, carrying his bat with 115, his second ODI century.



Text us on 84040, email or contribute to 606

By Tom Fordyce

50th over: WICKET - Rainsford run out 1, Zim 221 all out - MATCH TIED
Wicket falls

I cannot believe what I've just seen - with the scores tied with one ball to go, Matsi misses White's yorker, 'keeper O'Brien gathers, hurls at the bowler's end and runs out the non-striker. It's a tie!

Ireland's players go crazy - it's like Australia v South Africa in '99 all over again. Zimbabwe have somehow thrown it away. Nine were needed off the last six, with Matsi facing. He hit the first two balls for twos and then spooned a full toss to midwicket - but Rankin failed to spot it in time and missed the chance.

With four needed off three, last man Rainsford drove a one. Matsi then swiped at White's next ball and got a top edge which Johnston, diving backwards at gully, nearly pouched in what would have been the catch of his life. But he dropped it, and as he hurled it back at the stumps Rainsford only avoided being run out by careering straight through the stumps.

Matsi then slashed the penultimate ball for two to leave him needing one to win it off the final ball - only for White to fox him in the flight and send the Irish fans bonkers.

I can't quite believe what just happened - half an hour ago, Ireland were dead and buried

49th over: WICKET - Mpofu run out 0, Zim 213-9
Wicket falls

It's just got madder - Mpofu fails to score off four balls and then sets off for an insane, insane single. Matsi sends him back bit it's too late - he's run out by the length of the pitch. Nine needed from the final over - and Zimbabwe have just one wicket standing. What a game! What a finish!

49th over: WICKET - Utseya ct Morgan b K O'Brien 1, Zim 213-8
Wicket falls

The world's gone mad - on comes the rotund Kevin O'Brien to Zimbabwe skipper Prosper Utseya, bowls a juicy full toss and watches in disbelief as it's spanked straight to cover. The Irish in the crowd are going beserk.

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni, Sabina Park: "This is just the most awesome, spine-tingling atmosphere. Whatever the result, this is a great day in Irish cricketing history."

48th over: Zim 213-7
Nine needed, 12 balls left. Squeaky bum time at Sabina Park...

48th over: WICKET - Brent lbw Botha 3, Zim 212-7
Wicket falls

Knock me bandy - Ireland strike, Brent aiming for an airey sweep and falling in front on his leg stump to an ecstatic Andre B.

47th over: Zim 212-6
They're not making it easy for themselves here - supa-tight line from Johnston, and only a fumble at midwicket prevents a run-out. 10 off 18...

46th over: Zim 210-6
Botha, who's gone for just 31 runs off his nine overs now, keeps it tight. 12 needed from 24...

45th over: Zim 208-6
Johnston in to Gary Brent, and suddenly the nerves have set in - just a scampered single off the final ball. Surely Zimbabwe can't blow this? Can they?

44th over: WICKET - Taylor run out (McCallan) 24, Zim 207-6
Too little, too late - or a cheeky lifeline? As Matsi smashes a drive back at the umpire, bowler McCallan mis-fields straight onto the stumps. Taylor can't believe it.

43rd over: Zim 198-5
Time for Kevin O'Brien, but the gamble doesn't pay off - nine off the over as the twos flow.

42nd over: Zim 189-5
That's 50

Could that be another decisive moment? Matsi flays McCallan to long-on, and Bray, running to his left, fumbles a chance he really should have pouched. That's 50 for Matsi and the 50 partnership too - sensational effort.

41st over: Zim 182-5
Shot of the day from Taylor - the sweetest of straight drives to the long-on boundary. Just 40 needed off nine overs - the leprechauns are looking flatter than a four-day-old lager.

40th over: Zim 175-5
That could have been the chance - Taylor slashes at Andre B and gets a tantalising edge, but O'Neill - standing up to the stumps - can't lap a glove on it. It's a four, rather than a snag, and Zimbabwe edge closer.

39th over: Zim 169-5
Maiden from skipper Trent, back in the hunt for wickets. They're just looking too comfortable, Taylor and Matsi - they're not quite cruising, but it's theirs to throw away now.

38th over: Zim 169-5
At the same stage, Ireland were 20 runs and a wicket worst off. Hmmm. Ireland need a wicket, sharpish...

37th over: Zim 163-5
Big Dave L-S returns, all bustle and chunter. Matsi bides his time and then clouts him over mid-on for four. The partnership's up to 30, and it's very much doing the job for Zimbabwe at the mo.

36th over: Zim 158-5
Andre B comes back, and it's instant joy. Well, maybe not joy - more solid satisfaction. It's a maiden, anyway.

35th over: Zim 158-5
Two more singles to Taylor, one to Matsi. First bit of Bob Marley of the day comes over the PA system as the physio comes on to tape up Matsi's ankle.

34th over: Zim 155-5
The pendulum swings back towards Zimbabwe as McCallan strays leg-side, and Taylor helps himself to a casual four to midwicket. 67 needed. No way his bandana would get the thumbs-up from T&S - which is madness, cos it's quite clearly working beautifully for him.

33rd over: Zim 147-5
Matsi, who's been short of the strike in recent overs, cuts Rankin serenely for four. The required run-rate is 4.4 an over - exactly what Zimbabwe are scoring at. Honestly - why would anyone let Trinny and Susannah tell them what to wear? Or not to wear?

32nd over: Zim 139-5
McCallan again. Taylor nearly takes a crazy single, and then thwacks the spinner straight for a useful four. Taylor has a red bandana under his lid, which matches his Zimbabwe shirt perfectly. Sorry. Went a bit Trinny and Susannah there. Ugh.

31st over: Zim 134-5
The sun is belting down now at Sabina Park, and Boyd Rankin's back for some more pace from the southern end. Brendan Taylor, who looks like he could be Matt Holland's younger brother, plays him with the straightest of willows.

30th over: WICKET - Chigumbura ct Bray b McCallan 4, Zim 133-5
Wicket falls

Now we really do have a game - new man Elton can't resist chancing his arm over the top, and batting hero Bray ices his cake with a fine tumbling catch at mid-on.

29th over: WICKET - Sibanda hit wicket b White 67, Zim 128-4
Wicket falls

No-one likes a lazy stereotype, but if that wasn't the luck of the Irish... Sibanda, almost never troubled, goes back to White and plays him casually to cover, only for his back foot to nudge the base of the stumps and dislodge the bails. It's conga o'clock again...

28th over: Zim 128-3
Matsi's as cavalier as they come - smashing McCallan back over his head for a flat, skimming six.

27th over: Zim 121-3
Andrew White takes over as the skipper takes a blow, but it's as you were - Matsi goes hard again with the same result as in the last over. They're bang on target again - 4.3 runs per over needed, current rate 4.7.

26th over: Zim 114-3
Not quite what the skipper wanted from McCallan - Matsi gets a tossed-up peach and hammers in straight back down the pitch for a lusty four. Three cheeky singles later and the pressure has eased.

25th over: Zim 107-3
Stuart Matsikenyeri's the new man in, and Trent J serves him up a maiden. Good work skipper.

24th over: WICKET Williams ct Rankin b McCallan 14, Zim 107-3
And that's the outcome - he slogs a mundane delivery straight to Rankin at deep mid-off. Ireland are back in this - and the conga's off again.

23rd over: Zim 107-2
Williams wants to get this over with - he's attacking the bowling like a maniac. Seven off the over - single following two following smashed four.

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni, Sabina Park: "The leprechauns et al are, not to put too fine a point on it, tanked up but they keep going with some pretty nifty footwork whenever the DJ spins away. This is impressive stuff. I thought the Barmy Army were good - but this lot are world-beaters."

22nd over: Zim 100-2
Kyle McCallan is brought on for a spot of right-arm spin, and almost gets the breakthrough straight away - Sean Williams snicking between the 'keeper's legs for four. The new batsman then eight-irons a slog into the deep, but the ball falls in lucky land between the two men out there.

21st over: WICKET - Chibhabha ct Langford-Smith b Johnston 12, Zim 92-2
Wicket falls

Bingo - no sooner typed than delivered. Chibbers takes a swipe at Johnston and succeeds only in lofting it straight down L-S's throat at mid-off. Cue great scenes of joy in the stands - a leprechaun-led conga and considerable ole-ing.

20th over: Zim 89-1
Lovely straight drive from Sibanda, and that's four more. Ireland need a wicket here - after that little dip a few overs back, the runs are ticking along again.

19th over: Zim 81-1
That's 50

Sibanda, eyeing a short one from Johnston, pulls over midwicket for four - and that's his half-century, off 61 balls. Excellent knock. Chibhabha then pushes for two to third man and survives a run-out shout by a fraction, thanks to a dive of Jonty Rhodes springiness.

18th over: Zim 74-1
Much better from Botha - a useful mix of little wobblers and slower deliveries, and just a single to Sibanda. I'll leave this Yes chat in a minute, but before I do, what were they thinking employing that squeaky-voiced clown Anderson as a lead singer? It's like listening to the wailings of a horribly pretentious child. With an obscene blond mullet.

17th over: Zim 73-1
Wallop - Chibbers postively explodes by his standards, flaying Johnston behind point for four. Re: 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' - apparently Wakeman wasn't in Yes by that point, so we'll have to spare him the blame for that turgidity at least.

16th over: Zim 69-1
It's catching - Fireworks Sibanda is tied up completely by Botha, and it's a maiden. The scoring rate has plummeted - just 14 runs off the last five overs. On comes the drinks cart. Thirsty work now - it's warming up out there.

15th over: Zim 69-1
Trent Johnston decides it's time to give a new bowler a nibble - himself. Luckily for him, Sibanda takes a single off the first ball, meaning Stonewall Chibhabha faces the next five - and fails to score off any of them.

14th over: Zim 68-1
Blimey - Chibhabha's finally on the move - albeit with a single. Only took him 11 balls. Five easy singles off Botha.

13th over: Zim 63-1
It's very much the Sibanda Show - four more off his legs from Langford-Smith, who then pulls up in physical pain. As the physio comes on to offer L-S some assistance, the music suddenly changes tack - we get 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' by Yes. Never a fan of those boys, personally - way too proggy. And that Wakeman - away with the fairies.

12th over: Zim 58-1
Three more to Sibanda as Andre Botha comes into the attack. Some light reggae drifts across Sabina Park - nothing rootsy, more the sort of stuff that your dad might tap his foot to.

11th over: Zim 55-1
Sibanda races on to 38 off just 36 balls with a jammy thick edge past third man for another four. Chibhabha's still to get up and running.

10th over: Zim 50-1
Rankin drops too short, and Sibanda clouts him over square leg for four. The required run rate's down to 4.2 per over already, and they're going along at - well, you can work it out. Surely.

9th over: Zim 43-1
L-S is spraying again - but Justice Chibhabha fails to fill his gleaming boots. Best weather of the day at Sabina Park - sunshine strong enough to warrant shadows.

8th over: Zim 41-1
Did I say the squeeze was on? Sibanda flays 'Uptown Top' Rankin for two crunching boundaries, one straight and one through point.

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni, Sabina Park: "I've just spotted 1993 Miss World Lisa Hanna arriving at the ground. Don't ask how I knew."
He's a married man too - although he wasn't in 1993, to be fair to him.

7th over: Zim 27-1
Dave's right on the cash now - Sibanda can only work him for a single off the final ball, and the squeeze is on.

6th over: WICKET - Duffin ct N O'Brien b Rankin 12, Zim 26-1
Wicket falls

What craziness - Duffin edges Rankin straight to O'Brien behind the stumps, who drops him. He then edges to second slip, is dropped again, and stands there laughing. But it's Rankin who's laughing a moment later when Duffin edges him behind again - and this time Niall hangs on.

5th over: Zim 26-0
Much better from Big Dave - just three singles off the bat. At the same stage of their innings, Ireland were 17-1. Early days, of course.

4th over: Zim 22-0
Zimbabwe will be very happy with this start. Sibanda cashes in on a shocking fumble at third man to pick up another boundary, and they're scoring at well over the required rate of 4.3 an over. The good news for Ireland is that there's a bit of random leap in the pitch - land it in the right area and you could get lucky.

From Brian Quinn, TMS inbox: "Zimbabwe will fall three runs short in the 43rd over. You heard it here first. Just off down to the bookies..."

3rd over: Zim 13-0
Vusi Sibanda gets off the mark with a little flick to leg off L-S, who's spraying it around like squatter version of Saj Mahmood.

BBC's Arlo White, TMS: "I had both the pork and chicken for lunch. It was so good I had to ask them to double up."

2nd over: Zim 9-0
Boyd Rankin comes barrelling in from the other end, and Duffin gives him the same treatment - creaming him away for a sweet four.

Stuart, Expat Kiwi in USA, via TMS inbox: "My American girlfriend just asked me, 'What's cricket?' She's got to go."

1st over: Zim 5-0
Here we go - Big Dave L-S takes his customary position for Ireland with the new ball, but Almost-As- Big Terrence Duffin slices him away for a four from just his second ball. Anyone want to give me an estimate on Zimbabwe's final tally here - including of course wickets down and overs needed to either win or lose?


50th over: WICKET - Langford-Smith ct Taylor b Mpofu 15, Ire 221-9
It's all over - Dave goes down fighting, top-edging the final ball of the Ireland innings into Taylor's gloves. Bray's left high and dry on 115 - a sensational knock for his team. Zimbabwe need 222 to win - see you after half-an-hour's lunch...

49th over: Ire 212-8
It's all happening - Big Dave hoicks Rainsford high to square leg, only for Elton Chigga to fall over, miss the catch and then watch prone as the ball rolls slowly over the rope for four. Bray, meanwhile, clouts on to 112. Super stuff.

48th over: Ire 201-8
He's reached 100

Kaboom! There it is - Bray cracks Mpofu behind square for four, and he has his ton - the first ever for Ireland in the World Cup. The entire Irish team is on its feet, cheering and clapping, and the pasty boys in the party stand go bananas. Another single from David Langford-Smith brings up the 200.

47th over: Ire 194-8
Nervous times here - Bray takes three singles, and he's now only one short of that ton.

46th over: Ire 188-8
Come on the Braymeister - he goes to 96 with a lovely wafted four over midwicket, and then nabs a single to get the strike. The Blarney Army - without any question the pastiest men in Jamaica - bite their fingernails.

45th over: WICKET - McCallan st Taylor b Williams 0, Ire 182-7
Wicket falls

Wallop - there's another - Kyle McCallan goes for a big heave, misses, and Taylor whips off the bails. The rain break's ruined it for Ireland. Surely Bray won't be marooned shy of his ton?

44th over: WICKET - Johnston run out, Ire 182-7
Wicket falls

Disaster for the skipper - Trent J is run out going for a crazy single. There'd already been eight off the over too - there was no need for it...

1740 GMT: A few minutes out, but the covers are now off. Beauty. Play should be underway in about five - and it's looking clearer up above too.

1733 GMT: Still raining, I'm afraid. But only lightly. I give this about five minutes before the covers come off.

From Hairy Ned, TMS inbox: "Shifty the city boy - Dundalk is a sprawling metropolis. Here in Corlough (West Cavan) we still have turf to fuel the TV. I'll name all the new-born ram lambs today after the team if we win."

From Mark Finlay, TMS inbox: "Tom Fordyce - how nice of you to slag off Trent Johnston's Irish accent. His Irish accent is about as good as Ed Joyce and Keven Pieterson's English accent."
How true, Mark - how true (pauses to scratch chin and consider deeply the fluid notions of national identity and citizenship in the 21st century).

43rd over: RAIN STOPPED PLAY, Ire 170-6
Rain delay

Alas - the rain is now sheeting down, and the players leg it for the pavillion. Bray's stuck on 87, Trent on 12. Reckon we'll be off for at least 10 minutes here - I'll keep you posted.

42nd over: Ire 169-6
Ominous grey clouds drifting towards Sabina Park as Johnston puts Sean Williams away for a nice two. It isn't looking too good up above.

41st over: Ire 164-6
A single apiece to the batsmen, with Prosper now having conceded a mere 27 off his nine overs so far. Super captain's effort.

40th over: Ire 162-6
Brent, in his 10th and final over, is thwacked away by Bray for four to take the big fella on to 82. Let's have that ton, now. Re 'Far and Away': while Cruise's accent was a disgrace, credit must surely go to Kidman - she made a more than decent fist of it, no?

Jonny in Dublin, TMS inbox: "It certainly would be something of a 'Tragedy' if Gary Brent was to polish off our remaining batsmen."

39th over: Ire 155-6
In comes skipper Trent Johnston, and he gets off the mark in rapid fashion against new bowler Stuart Matsikenyeri. If you're wondering where Trent got that strangely Australian name from, the answer's simple - Australia. He's also got even less of an Irish accent than Tom Cruise in 'Far and Away'.

38th over: WICKET - White lbw b Brent 28, Ire 145-6
Wicket falls

Brent bites back - White aims a mighty sweep at a slower one and is hit bang in line of his back peg. Umpire Gould raises his finger with an ostentatious wide-arm action and Ireland are six down.

37th over: Ire 145-5
White reverse-sweeps Prosper twice on the bounce, gets a four the first time and a two the second. That's more like it.

From Shifty in Dundalk, via TMS inbox: "I am from Cavan and we got 'Happy Days', so Mr Dub not all of us in the 'sticks; are stuck with just the Late Late Show and Kenny Live."

36th over: Ire 137-5
White swipes at Gibb/Howard, gets a thick edge and watches happily as the ball flies away for four. The partnership's up to 48 - they're staying alive here.

35th over: Ire 131-5
Bray moves on to 71, but with the acceleration of a Citreon 2CV. Time to put the foot on the gas...

34th over: Ire 129-5
Brent's proving harder to put away than a seven-foot sandwich. Bray tries to tuck in but can only nibble a pair of singles.

33rd over: Ire 126-5
More tidy twirling from Prosper. Bray moves on to 66 with two singles, but he's looking to get busy here - Ireland will probably need at least another 100 on the board to start fancying their chances...

From Ciarán McKenna in Dublin, TMS inbox: "I must correct Barry in Limerick - people in the sticks (i.e. outside Dublin) may not have received Happy Days as they mostly only receive the Irish channels, but I however am not from the sticks so I get the UK channels too and used to love that programme."

32nd over: Ire 123-5
Gary Brent's back on, and Ireland tickle three more singles onto the tally. My colleague here reckons Brent's much more Maurice Gibb than Ron Howard, but I'm not buying it.

31st over: Ire 120-5
White has been researching the Alternative Shot manual, and executes a reverse sweep/hoick to the boundary. There's a spot of hazy sunshine breaking through at Sabina Park, and that's calmed the swing down a bit.

30th over: Ire 113-5
Three more singles, and I might have to take a quick courtesy break while the boys out there enjoy a cool beverage.

29th over: Ire 110-5
Prosper doesn't allow Ireland to, keeping them down to a mere single.

28th over: Ire 109-5
Four singles, and Bray's swapped his helmet for a floppy sun hat. It was the ears - even a man with his mental strength could only take so much.

27th over: Ire 105-5
Prosper is racing through his overs like he's got a bet to put on the last race at Cheltenham. Hope he does better than the BBC crew if he does - there's been a whole heap of whingeing and woe in these parts today.

26th over: Ire 103-5
Left-arm tweaker Sean Williams joins the party, and White sweeps him for two.

25th over: Ire 99-5
White gets off the quacker with a dabbed single. That's the halfway point in the Irish innings. Bray's helmet is wedged on his head in such a way that his ears are splayed out horizontally. Mark of the man that he's so focused on the bowling that he's incapable of feeling pain. Hats off, in more ways than one.

24th over: Ire 98-5
That's 50

It's Bray o'clock - two mighty slaps through the off side take him to his half-century. It's come off 66 balls, with five fours and two sixes, and a group of topless lads in the stand dance in delight.

23rd over: Ire 90-5
Skipper Prosper Utseya brings himself on for a spot of right-arm tweakage. Bray squeezes off a single before new man Andrew White keeps it cautious.

22nd over: WICKET - K O'Brien c Taylor b Rainsford 10, Ire 89-5
Wicket falls

Raino serves up an away-singer on off, and O'Brien chases it straight into Taylor's gloves. Not a great shot, and down the other end Bray looks furious...

From Barry in Limerick, TMS inbox: "'Happy Days' was never received on Irish Television, so that beautiful reference will be wasted on us all here We did, however, receive an Irish sitcom called "At home with Mrs O'Brien" which is where I hope our batsmen Niall and Kevin won't be going for another six or seven weeks. Wishful thinking? Perhaps..."

21st over: Ire 81-4
Maiden from Mpofu. If you haven't seen him in action before, he's slightly reminiscent of Curtly Ambrose. Slightly being the key word. It's the high arm, not the terrifying pace or relentless accuracy.

20th over: Ire 81-4
Edward Rainsford takes over from Brent. Bray watches the first three balls carefully before cracking the fourth wide of mid-on for four. He then swipes at the final delivery and nearly plays on Rainsford winces.

From BBC Sport's Paresh Soni at Sabina Park: "I've just spoken to one of the leprechauns in the Party Stand - a 6 ft 5 ins fella from Sydney on honeymoon."

19th over: Ire 77-4
Mpofu back into the attack, and Bray grabs two more singles to move on to 37. Key knock from the big fella.

From Lee in Dublin, TMS inbox: "Our first match in the World Cup and our hopes are as fragile as a candle in the wind. Come on Elton, don't go breaking our hearts..."

18th over: Ire 74-4
Brent comes in for his fifth over, and O'Brien flicks a leg-sider down to fine leg for four. If wicketkeeper Taylor had a left arm 30 centimetres longer, he would have bagged that.

17th over: Ire 70-4
Kevin O'Brien isn't going to hang around - first ball up he wallops Chigga through cover for four. Shot of the day, no question about it.

From Tom Murphy, TMS inbox: "Tom - am I right in assuming you're racist and hate the Irish?"
No Tom, you are not.

16th over: Ire 64-4
Brent keeps the pressure on with another maiden. Bray can't get him away - but at least, after that onslaught from Elton, he's still standing.

15th over: WICKET - Botha b Chigumbura 1, Ire 64-4
Wicket falls

Woe for Botha, joy for Elton - Chigga cleans up the new man with an in-dipper that clatters the top of middle stump as Botha plays no shot.

14th over: Ire 63-3
Andre Botha, the latest in this longest list of left-handers, gets off the mark with a quick single before joing Bray halfway down the track for a quick chat.

From Jonny in Dublin, TMS inbox: "Please pray tell why the fall of Ireland's 2nd wicket, in our first ever World Cup, has been greeted with the response of 'Happy Days'? Still bitter about the rugger Tom?"
Jonny, Jonny, Jonny - give the Ron Howard reference a little more attention before hurling such hurtful accusations...

13th over: Ire 60-3
Chigga in to Bray, and the shaven-headed opener top-edges him over third slip for a six. Bray removes his helmet and mops his brow. For a man with a shaven pate, he has an unfortunate number of cranial moles.

12th over: Ire 53-3
Brent's back with his little wobblers, and screams an enormous appeal for what looks like a certain lbw. Umpire Ian Gould - former Sussex stalwart, and big pal of Mike Gatting - keeps his finger to himself. Brent then watches in disbelief as a shy at the stumps from a Bray push to point misses by a mile and goes for four overthrows.

11th over: WICKET - O'Brien ct Taylor b Chigumbura b Brent 44-3
Wicket falls

Elton's done it again - Niall O'Brien nibbles and 'keeper Taylor takes the easy pouch.

10th over: WICKET - Morgan ct Chigumbura b Brent 43-2
Wicket falls

Gary Brent, who looks a little like a more muscular version of actor/director Ron Howard, strikes in his first over, inducing the edge from the cavalier Morgan. Happy days.

9th over: Ire 42-1
Elton Chigumbura into the attack. He's no Rocket Man, but he's quick enough to pin Bray down - a maiden to get him going, which is ironic.

8th over: Ire 42-1
Rainsford strays and Bray clouts him through cover for three. Morgan, who does like a joust, plays and misses twice but connects with another waft to pick up another boundary.

7th over: Ire 33-1
Morgan, who holds his bat high pre-delivery in a Goochesque fashion, cracks a sweet four through point and then gets a wink from Lady Luck as an edge flies just over second slip. If they are actual leprechauns, they'll soon be inebriated leprechauns, judging from the rate they're quaffing.

6th over: Ire 23-1
I say dressed as leprechauns - there is of course the possibility that they are actually are leprechauns. The fresh-faced Morgan clips Rainsford off his pads for a nicely-timed four.

5th over: Ire 17-1
A flay from Bray goes all the way... er, to the point boundary for the first four of the innings. Mpofu then drops even shorter and Bray cuts him over point for six more. The two fellas in the stand dressed as orange-bearded leprechauns dance for joy.

4th over: Ire 6-1
Testing times at the other end from Raino - Eoin Morgan plays and misses twice before a most pleasant straight drive bags him two.

3rd over: Ire 3-1
Mpofu ties Bray up like a Christmas present - it's the first maiden of the day. Gotta be careful typing the bowler's name here - he's only a careless key-press away from becoming an extremely rude insult.

2nd over: Ire 3-1
Edward Rainsford from the other end, and Jeremy Bray gets the Irish marching with a little push into the off side for two. Hearts are still clanging after that breathtaking start.

1st over: WICKET: Porterfield ct Sibanda b Mpofu 0, Ire 0-1
Wicket falls

Lord alive - what a start! Chris Mpofu, all arms and legs (not literally, of course - he does have a head and torso) gets a whole heap of bounce, takes the edge of Porterfield's bat and Sibanda takes the catch diving across from slip after 'keeper Taylor spills the initial attempt.

1420: Limited noise so far from the Irish supporters - or the Blarney Army, as you've surely got to call them.

1404 GMT: Here's your first bit of chat from Kingston: Zimbabwe have won the toss and decided to bowl. Interesting decision - it's a touch muggy out there, which could give Trent Johnston's boys a bit of trouble early on.

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World Cup photos
15 Mar 07 |  Cricket
Ireland - Three to watch
14 Feb 07 |  International Teams
Zimbabwe - Three to watch
15 Feb 07 |  Zimbabwe


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