Ireland v Zimbabwe, Group D, Jamaica

Bray makes it Ireland's day

S Rajesh and HR Gopalakrishna

March 15, 2007

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Jeremy Bray had a day to remember, scoring his second ODI century and becoming only the 12th batsman to carry his bat in the World Cup © Getty Images
With six overs to go, Zimbabwe needed just 15 runs with four wickets in hand. From there Zimbabwe choked, while Ireland fought magnificently to force the 22nd tie in ODIs, and only the third tie in World Cup history. The earlier two both involved South Africa - against Australia in 1999, and against Sri Lanka in 2003. On both occasions, the results were as good as defeats for South Africa.

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.

Openers carrying their bats in World Cup matches
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.

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S Rajesh Stats editor Every week the Numbers Game takes a look at the story behind the stats, with an original slant on facts and figures. The column is edited by S Rajesh, ESPNcricinfo's stats editor in Bangalore. He did an MBA in marketing, and then worked for a year in advertising, before deciding to chuck it in favour of a job which would combine the pleasures of watching cricket and writing about it. The intense office cricket matches were an added bonus.
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