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March 15, 2007
The dramatic finish took some of the focus off a superb century by Jeremy Bray, who became only the sixth batsman from a non-Test-playing team to score a hundred in the World Cup, emulating Dave Houghton (142 against New Zealand in 1987), Andy Flower (115 not against Sri Lanka in 1992), Feiko Kloppenburg (121 against Namibia in 2003), Klaas-Jan van Noortwijk (134 not out against Namibia in 2003), and John Davison (111 against West Indies in 2003). It was also the sixth century by an Irish batsman, and Bray's second - he now averages an impressive 50.67 in seven ODIs.
While the rest of the Ireland batsmen struggled, Bray hammered the Zimbabwean attack, getting his runs off just 137 balls - a scoring rate of 84 runs per 100 balls. He was especially dominant through the offside, getting 73 of his 115 runs in the arc between third man and extra-cover. Zimbabwe's new-ball attack of Christopher Mpofu and Ed Rainsford were completely toothless against him - Mpofu leaked 32 runs from 28 balls, while Rainsford went for 24 off 20.
Bray batted through the 50 overs and remained unbeaten too, becoming only the 12th batsman to carry his bat through an innings in the World Cup. Interestingly, the last time a player carried his bat in the World Cup game was exactly four years ago, when Marvan Atapattu made an undefeated 103 against Zimbabwe in a Super Six match at East London on March 15, 2003.
|Batsman||Score||Against||Venue & year|
|Sunil Gavaskar||36*||England||Lord's, 1975|
|Glenn Turner||171*||East Africa||Birmingham, 1975|
|Geoff Marsh||126*||New Zealand||Chandigarh, 1987|
|Andy Flower||115*||Sri Lanka||New Plymouth, 1992|
|Rameez Raja||102*||West Indies||Melbourne, 1992|
|Gary Kirsten||188*||UAE||Rawalpindi, 1996|
|Ridley Jacobs||49*||Australia||Old Trafford, 1999|
|Neil Johnson||134*||Australia||Lord's, 1999|
|Craig Wishart||172*||Namibia||Harare, 2003|
|Ishwar Maraj||53*||South Africa||East London, 2003|
|Marvan Atapattu||103*||Zimbabwe||East London, 2003|
|Jeremy Bray||115*||Zimbabwe||Jamaica, 2007|
Bray's opening partner, William Porterfield, didn't have as good an outing, though, lasting six balls and being dismissed for zero. It was the second time in World Cups that the openers have got a duck and a century - the only previous instance was in 1992, when Aamer Sohail failed to get off the mark while Rameez Raja made an unbeaten 119 against New Zealand at Christchurch. Pakistan won that game by seven wickets.
Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia