Ed Joyce slams ton to help Ireland beat Zimbabwe
Ed Joyce produced a match-winning 112 from 103 balls to help Ireland beat Zimbabwe by a narrow five-run margin in their World Cup 2015 Group B match played in Hobart on Saturday.
Zimbabwe's captain Brendon Taylor won the toss and opted to bat first and opener Paul Stirling fell in just the third over of the match. Joyce and William Poterfield then added 63 runs for the second wicket, before Poterfield fell in the 21st over.
Poterfield's dismissal didn't affect Joyce, as he and Andy Balbirnie combined forces to attack Zimbabwe's bowlers. The duo helped Ireland cross 100 in the 24th over.
Joyce, the more aggressive of the two, brought up his fifty from 62 deliveries. The Joyce-Balbirnie combine took their side past the 200-run mark in the 38th over.
Joyce went on to record his second ODI hundred from just 96 balls. He finally fell in the 39th over, but Ireland looked comfortable at 217 at that stage.
Joyce had clubbed nine fours and two sixes in his ton. Balbirnie then combined with Kevin O'Brien and Gary Wilson to help Ireland post a mammoth 331.
Zimbabwe's top-order got starts but failed to capitalize. They lost three wickets in the first eleven overs. Taylor and Sean Williams mounted a fight back with a 149-run stand for the fifth wicket. Taylor scored his sixth ODI ton before he was dismissed in the 38th over.
Williams's fighting-knock helped Zimbabwe score 300, before he departed for 96 in the 47th over. His departure signalled an end to Zimbabwe's resistance and they fell five runs short of the target.
"Thought it was a good toss to win for them," Joyce said. "It was really hard to defend, but the boys pulled it off in the end. Alex Cusack has a cold heart, no, a cool head, and I'm glad he was the one bowling that last over, and I'm glad William Porterfield was under the catch. I had a lot of luck early on before I got to 30 or 40, and I needed that. They bowled well initially, back of a length, it was difficult to get away. Andrew Balbirnie was brilliant too."