Ireland v Zimbabwe, World T20, Group B, Sylhet

Ireland hold on for last-gasp win

The Report by Firdose Moonda

March 17, 2014

Comments: 50 | Text size: A | A

Ireland 164 for 7 (Stirling 60, Panyangara 4-37) beat Zimbabwe 163 for 5 (Taylor 59, Dockrell 2-18) by three wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Paul Stirling plays his own version of the flamingo shot, Ireland v Zimbabwe, World T20, First Round Group B, March 17, 2014
Paul Stirling struck four successive boundaries off Tinashe Panyangara's first over © ICC
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Some say the phrase "The luck of the Irish" refers to the good fortune enjoyed by the citizens of that country when they took up mining, with much success, in the United States. Others say it was coined in irony, to reflect on the potato famine and wars that affected the country so badly. After their last-ball win against Zimbabwe on St Patrick's Day, Ireland's cricketers will be inclined to believe the former.

They restricted their Full Member opposition to what was considered a below-par score on a ground hosting its first international match. In response, they seemed to be having their own St Patrick's Day parade, coasting towards a win at 61 without loss after the Powerplay and 99 for 1 at the halfway stage. Then, they started to stutter.

Tinashe Panyangara, who went for 18 runs in his first over, changed ends and delivered a double-wicket maiden in the 15th over to drag Zimbabwe back into the game. Brendan Taylor made the bowler change ends again for his third over and Kevin O'Brien took 15 runs off Panyangara before falling on his sword in the 18th over. Still, Ireland needed only seven runs off the last two overs. Zimbabwe needed a miracle.

Tendai Chatara had bowled intelligently to that point with 17 off three overs and a wicket. He understood the conditions called for a change of pace. With a slew of slower balls, he gave away only three in the penultimate over. Ireland needed four off the last six.

Panyangara stepped up for the final over. The hallmark of his game is death-bowling and he showed it with his third ball - a perfect yorker to dismiss Ed Joyce. The next ball was almost as good but Max Sorensen dug it out and set off for a risky single only to be run out by Sean Williams at mid-off.

Ireland needed two runs. Zimbabwe still needed a miracle. The penultimate ball was a low full toss which Stuart Thompson outside-edged to third man. Ireland were one run away from a win, even as Zimbabwe thought they could pull off a miracle.

Panyangara fired a yorker-length ball, Alex Cusack missed but ran anyway. Taylor was not standing up to the stumps but threw under-arm from his position. Had he hit, Cusack would have been run-out and the match would have gone into a Super Over. He missed and Ireland scrambled the bye for a win.

After the match, a gutted Taylor had no explanation for his decision to not stand closer. "I backed myself to hit the stumps," he said. "But anyway, these things happen. I think we were still 20 runs short."

It turned out Zimbabwe were only two runs short, but Taylor held the batsmen responsible for not capitalising on starts. He was the only one who did, top-scoring with 59. The rest were frustrated by Ireland's spinners and the sluggish surface.

Between them, Paul Stirling, George Dockrell and Andy McBrine gave away only 68 runs in 12 overs and took four wickets. They pegged Zimbabwe back from the outset - Stirling opened the innings with an over that cost just four and then McBrine and Dockrell punctured the Zimbabwe innings. Hamilton Masakadza was caught at short midwicket trying to clear McBrine. Taylor was caught at the extra-cover boundary off Dockrell, looking to break the shackles after Sibanda lost his wicket to the pull shot.

After the Powerplay, Zimbabwe were well positioned at 56 for 1 and looked set for a total of 180-plus. But, at 131 for 5 after 17 overs, even 155 looked out of reach. Elton Chigumbura showed off his finishing skills, scoring 16 off the last over, including two sixes, but Taylor thought even 163 was not enough.

The way Ireland openers William Porterfield and Stirling started seemed to rubber-stamp the Zimbabwe captain's opinion. They raced to 61 without loss in the Powerplay, rendering Zimbabwe's early attack ineffective. Even after they were both dismissed, Ireland marched on.

It was only when Panyangara was brought back from a different end that Zimbabwe came alive again, inspired by his double strike. Prosper Utseya kept O'Brien and Joyce quiet, so did Sean Williams, and Zimbabwe built pressure.

O'Brien was not going to be stopped for too long, though, and when he tore into Panyangara, it seemed Zimbabwe's comeback was short-lived. The bowler, however, made up for his mistakes and delivered a final over that could have seen Zimbabwe win. But it was St Patrick's Day and the Irish have that luck.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ExpectUs on (March 19, 2014, 7:35 GMT)

I have wondered why they used that weird "Cricket Ireland" flag. Now I know, thanks murmur

Posted by Jonah58 on (March 18, 2014, 22:03 GMT)

I don't know what the issue is with the Poynter brothers BOTH of whom play representative cricket for Ireland, following in the footsteps of their Uncle who also played for Ireland. There are a lot of people here who make assumptions about Ireland and Irish cricketers who don't have a clue about what they are talking about. perhaps if they took the time to realise that Irish players are employed by English counties because after they are invited to trials having been spotted by scouts for the counties while playing in Ireland they are deemed good enough to be employed. Counties want to win so they employ players to help them win and they take them on from all over the world!

Posted by thecutiepie on (March 18, 2014, 18:05 GMT)

If anybody really deserve test status, It should be Ireland. No afghanistan, no Nepal, It's Ireland. They have played consistently in every ICC tournaments in the last few years despite being an associate country. they have been winner in the associate country's tournament. they have beaten many Test playing countries in different big occasions proving that they are not a fluke. if they are given Test status, then hope that players like Eoin morgan and Ryan Ten doeschete won't play for england leaving their own country.

Posted by blarneyarmy on (March 18, 2014, 14:38 GMT)

@Ashiqur Rahman: As murmur quite rightly points out, the irish cricket team is not a Republic of Ireland cricket team but a joint Northern Ireland and ROI team. You will find that the English cricket team is not a United Kingdom team but relates solely to England and Wales.

There is a massive difference between 'hiring from other countries' and recognising a person rights to represent the country that they chose to settle and spend their life in. Poynter, Cusack and Sorenson all moved to Ireland with the intentions of calling it home and were not enticed to do so by the Irish crictet union. Their subsequent call up to the irish set up has arisen due to their form in the irish club cricket scene and the rights that stem from irish citizenship. Should Ireland tell these players that they are not wanted because they are not 100% Irish? I'd expect such a stance to open up a massive can of worms!

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 14:21 GMT)

How about unofficial five day Test matches? Each top Test team should be asked to play at least one unofficial Test match per year with the top associate nation. If they play well, we can consider giving them Test status.

Posted by murmur on (March 18, 2014, 13:44 GMT)

@Ashiqur Rahman - Ireland cricket team covers Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, so Gary Wilson is definitely Irish. Saying he is imported is definitely silly. Cusack decided to live in Ireland in 2005, 3 years before his debut for the ODI, so hardly "recruited". If you compare Ireland's team with, say, England, there is very little difference in terms of numbers of homegrown players vs "foreigners". So I think you need to do some more research yourself.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 13:24 GMT)

@blarneyarmy Right ... so you are not hiring county player or immigrant players then? Andrew Poynter born in Hammersmith London, Gary Wilson born in N.Ireland (part of UK), Alex Cusack born in Brisbane, Australia, Max Sorensen born in SA !!! So 4 players imported from outside ! Stop recruiting player giving them citizenship. I want to see an Irish team where all the players born and brought up in Ireland like players in Indian, Pakistan, Sri Lanka or Bangladesh team. In sub-content, we produce players not hire players by giving them citizenship or low class player who cant get the chance to their respective home country team ! Lets say Cusack (no offence to him, great player he has been for Irish team) would not get the chance in Australia team. So before you made your point should have checked the details mate. Thanks for reading the information about your own team how they hire cricket.

Posted by PJD74 on (March 18, 2014, 12:42 GMT)

For those criticising Ireland's cricket administration and structure, they're at least trying to do something about it and had their first season of regional cricket last summer. They are, at least, trying to build something; if only some of those who already have test status could say the same but, at best, the likes of Bangladesh have just stagnated. It's a bit of a vicious circle, you say they need to develop further before they get test status, but without test status they won't develop further because England will continue to nick their best players. Where's the incentive?

And I would dispute that cricket needs the Asian block to get stronger. What cricket needs is global appeal and to reach out to as many different parts of the world as it can. This closed old boy's network is doing cricket no favours at all.

Posted by blarneyarmy on (March 18, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

@Ashiqur Rahman. Your recent post shows a complete ignorance of the state of the game in Ireland. You state: 'Hiring from other countries won't help Ireland to get better'. Can you enlighten me who these hired players are? All the county players who played yesterday are home bred products of the Irish youth system (O'Brien, Porterfield, Wilson, Stirling, Dockrell, Joyce). It is true to say that Irish cricket has historically been based on a system of club cricket but things are changing rapidly. Last year a new interprovincial tournament was introduced, providing the non county players with a higher level of cricket than previously provided by the club system. Now these non-county players such as O'Brien, McBrine, Poynter, Cusack etc will have the chance to play a high standard of cricket in a domestic set up. With the continued development of this system we should see a reduction in the number of players travelling to England and an increase in locally based international players.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 10:54 GMT)

Disappointed ! Zim should have won the game ! I see Irish team as our club level team. Because they do not have cricketing structure but use english county cricket as structure. So anyone can get better if they play in Test countries' domestic cricket. Hiring from other countries won't help Ireland to get better. Stop playing in County and produce world class player. Ireland would only get Test status when Afghanistan will get. We need Asia block to be stronger after all we are cricket having 1.7 Billion population in indian sub continent. from a Bangladeshi supporter.

Posted by wapuser on (March 18, 2014, 8:26 GMT)

I think raising voice for Ireland's test status is an act of exaggeration. They may have defeated many upper ranked teams but they still look a bit immature. They recently lost to Hong Kong in a warm match which shows they still have to work hard. Instead they should be given more matches to play. And country like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, S. Africa and West Indies who seem to be interested in promoting cricket should come forward to play matches with this rising cricketing nation. By the way sri Lanka are supposed to be playing an ODI's series with Ireland in the months to come. I think this will be a good move instead of giving them test status.

Posted by reyme on (March 18, 2014, 8:21 GMT)

@Aryaan Hazrat: Agreed, BD win over was a major upset. However a bigger upset would be when either HK or Nepal beats AFG. I think it's coming up soon... But anyways, AFG is full of big boys and when they will win against PAK, IND, AUS, ENG those wont be any upset either, afterall, AFG is destined to win the worldcup next year in AUS. AFG have some really good fast bowlers. But in case IND or PAK wins against AFG, that will be a minor upset, not a major upset, IND or PAK batsmen wont have any answer against AFG fast bowls and bouncers....AFG is the best!

Posted by British_North_America on (March 18, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

Eoin Morgan would have made a huge difference in strength.

Posted by wapuser on (March 18, 2014, 7:00 GMT)

Brilliant match. Irish team has delivered time and again. High time they be given more matches with the test playing nations

Posted by mondotv on (March 18, 2014, 5:01 GMT)

I understand why guys like Eoin Morgan and Boyd Rankin end up playing for England which has full Test playing status and plays against all the major teams, but in a tournament like this where they've already played for Ireland at T20 international level I'm of the firm belief they should be allowed or even forced to go back and play for Ireland. We just aren't seeing the true strength of a team like Ireland without them. Surely England could still field a competitive team without poaching from South Africa and Ireland? Well perhaps not...

Posted by   on (March 18, 2014, 3:26 GMT)

think of a team list ...with " Morgan & Rankin" in side..

Posted by BRUTALANALYST on (March 18, 2014, 2:57 GMT)

Amazing game. Zimbabwe however wasted Chigumbura at 6 how can your most destructive T20 player who has played many games in Bangladesh only be given 13 balls in a must win game ? especially as he's one of the cleanest hitters down the ground on a tiny straight boundary ? Really poor tactics.

Posted by AshwinMS on (March 18, 2014, 2:36 GMT)

@Shadman Arnob a second rate team like Bangladesh defeating India or NZ is indeed an upset.Unless they manage to do it more than once in 5 years.

Posted by ExpectUs on (March 18, 2014, 0:19 GMT)

Ireland is at the same level as Bangladesh or Zimbabwe (arguably even better). However, they shouldn't get test status hastily because of their weak cricket administration.

Posted by Happy_hamster on (March 18, 2014, 0:08 GMT)

wolf777 on (March 17, 2014, 15:43 GMT) Can you get any more clichés in? You forgot to mention the Blarney stone, lets hope no one makes mention of curry and turbans when India play.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 22:51 GMT)

Just seen the last ball, looked awfully like a rugby tackle. Argument for sanction against the player, even penalty runs (if Ireland hadn't won)

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 22:04 GMT)

This is not an upset, however; Bangladesh win against Afghanistan was a major upset so far in this tournament.

Posted by mahjut on (March 17, 2014, 20:41 GMT)

A petty strange pick for Zim in Kamungozi and two semi strange ones in Utseya and Maruma (though it seems evident they are very much on someone's radar).

I am only commenting on Zimbabwe (I lost all interest in Ireland - and I generally support all the 'performing underdogs' like BD, Afghanistan, Zim of course - when they started posturing ... and started with barbs at Zimbabwe and BD!) Sometimes watching zims selections one wonders if it's done on a logic of exposing as many people to high quality cricket as possible!?

Ok, so the season was delayed for some months, a tour was cancelled but what is the plan with Maruma and Kamungozi...what was the thinking behind it

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 19:17 GMT)

the guy calling for Ireland to get test status should realise had there been a direct hit they would not have won

Posted by KingAjmal on (March 17, 2014, 18:48 GMT)

Well done Ireland. Clearly better than Zimbabwe and deserve to be amongst the elite hopefully soon. Excuses that Zimbabwe players were missing, Irish were missing Morgan, Rankin etc. Don't forget though Zimbabwe have not played any Cricket since sept, a lot of their players were involved in the Dhaka premier league in the months ahead and Ireland didn't have any plus have very few series themselves yet still pretty much won with ease :P

Posted by DwightR on (March 17, 2014, 18:29 GMT)

happy st. pattys day to the irish! another "test" side dealt with...give this team full status, hope they clean out the weaker opponents and pull off a major upset again in this tournament

Posted by grahaam on (March 17, 2014, 18:11 GMT)

Result was expected ...Ireland had good preparation(West Indies) for this game while Zimbabwe had very little ..I note the comments @Sirviv1973 that Ireland managed this Victory without Morgan and Rankin, however you must consider that Zimbabwe are missing many players too. This is not a Full strength Zimbabwe side by any means..their best players are playing and representing elsewhere or have been driven from the game by ZC. Good cricket match, well done Ireland , and well played Zim under the circumstances of recent times.

Posted by Albert_cambell on (March 17, 2014, 17:42 GMT)

I knew this was coming from Ireland, but dont be harsh on Zimbabwe. They are coming into the tournament after 6 months break from international cricket. The did well against pakistan in their last international series. So they are a worthy oppenent for test cricket. Look at what BD is doing, even after playing more frequent games they still lost 7 ODIs in a row at home. What have they done in international cricket apart from a few wins here and there against NZ and WI?

Posted by Ike47 on (March 17, 2014, 17:40 GMT)

Hmm, perhaps (and hopefully!) I was wrong. I see that both of yesterday's T20 matches are now on replay on Espn3, so perhaps later today the Ireland-Zimbabwe match will be available. I sure hope so!

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 17:38 GMT)

The batter on the picture reminds me Darryl Cullinen

Posted by Ike47 on (March 17, 2014, 17:34 GMT)

What a match! Congratulations, Ireland! It's really a pity that Espn3 didn't televise the game, so that we could watch it on replay here in the U.S. :(

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 16:48 GMT)

Ouch.So close.Well fought Zimbabwe

Posted by DLMcN on (March 17, 2014, 16:06 GMT)

Well played Ireland (most of the time, at least) - but you must surely admit to having been lucky with that 'miss' by Taylor at the very end ! ... In any event, there is no room for complacency - you need to make sure you win your other two games, and (if possible) at least one in the main competition.

Posted by wolf777 on (March 17, 2014, 15:43 GMT)

As they say it...Luck of an Irish...HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY from an India fan in Chicago…This calls for a pint of Guinness….Cheers…

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 15:21 GMT)

NP-NY, , just like when BD beats IND or NZ it's not an upset anymore.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 14:48 GMT)

Great stuff from Ireland, the status quo regarding Zimbabwe and Ireland's ICC membership surely cannot be allowed to continue any longer. Either Zimbabwe lose their test status and are replaced by Ireland, or (my preference) Ireland are admitted as the 11th full member after next year's World Cup, and are granted the extra matches and funding that that entails.

Now that Zimbabwe and the ICC must be realising that there is a realistic chance of either Ireland or Afghanistan qualifying for the 2019 World Cup ahead of Zimbabwe, they'll hopefully reconsider the dreadful decision to limit it to just 10 teams, and make it at least a 12 team competition. Fully expect Ireland and Afghanistan to outperform Zimbabwe at next year's World Cup. COYBIG!

Posted by johnabe0220 on (March 17, 2014, 14:35 GMT)

I am always rooting for Ireland. They had been such a great team. However, in the recent past their performances have been little shoddy, especially with the retirements of Johnson and few others. In addition, in the past their batting has been much better and now their batting only goes to deep as Porterfield, sterling, kevin o'brien and Hopkins. This is it. Only four decent batsmen fit for twenty20. Ed Joyce is not fit for twenty20. Also for today, what was the reasoning behind pursuing with Cusak when he was being smacked around everywhere today, pretty bad call from Porterfield.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (March 17, 2014, 13:55 GMT)

Well done to Ire. It looks like yet again they will be in the main draw of an ICC global tournament and all this despite not having arguably the 2 best irish born players in Morgan & Rankin available. More disappointment for Zim who now seem set to miss out on the main draw. Although I prefer the new format to the old one I would probably have had 12 teams in the main draw which would have been the 10 full members plus Ire who over the years have earned the right not to have to qualify for these events. Then I would have had just 1 qualifying group of 4 with the winner taking the last place in the main draw which would have been 2 pools of 6.

Posted by Snambidi on (March 17, 2014, 13:53 GMT)

So finally the Irish Spirit triumphs.! The lat ball win by three wickets indicates creditable batting by Ireland. Having won their first match ,the spirit of Irish would enhance towin more matches.

The possibility of their qualifying to the final Ten including the Stewarts of Cricketplaying Nations can not be ruled out. All the Best to Ireland.& good luck for Zimbabwe in their next match.

Posted by Super_Eyes on (March 17, 2014, 13:46 GMT)

Great to see some great batting talent from Ireland. I am convinced that this country has the future in cricket. If there is any associate country which deserves the test status, it has to be this Irish team!

Posted by NP_NY on (March 17, 2014, 13:38 GMT)

Nice show on St.Patrick's day by the fighting Irish. This loss is tough on Zimbabwe, but when Ireland beats Zimbabwe or Bangladesh it is no longer an upset, in any format of the game.

Posted by MeijiMura on (March 17, 2014, 13:27 GMT)

As I said before the match if Sibanda plays then he has to open the batting. I'm not convinced that Raza is a T20 player either. The positives to come out of the match for Zimbabwe were the performances of Chatara who impressed throughout his four overs once again and the comeback of Panyangara after conceding 18 runs off his first over. As for Ireland they overbowled Cusack who was very ordinary throughout. He contributed nothing to the match and should be replaced for the remainder of the tournament. I'm not convinced that Niall O-Brien should sit out either. He is too good a batsman and his experience was sorely missed tonight. Ireland got into a strong position and very nearly lost it. Joyce took up too many deliveries without scoring enough runs but it didn't cost them in the end. Stirling and Porterfield set up the win with a great opening partnership that took the initiative away from Zimbabwe. It's hard to see either Holland or the UAE beating Ireland to stop them qualifying.

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 13:12 GMT)

exiting match

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 13:07 GMT)

This was one match no one should have missed, Ireland won ...Both teams tried to out-class each other through out the mach. Though Ireland were on the top for most part of the game they should consider boosting their lower middle order for the upcoming games...But a victory here almost certainly means Ireland qualify from group B. Happy St. Patrick day Irish men...

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 13:02 GMT)

Ireland congratulations. stirlo purdy played really well.poynter did well but cusak and Joyce was disappointing. ed never played positively he almost caused a defeat,his strike rate was terrible, he should look upon him and improve himself in next game. Ireland must play murtagh cusack a waste and bowling sorenson one over only is another mistake chatara proved that. zim played well especially chatara.

Posted by wapuser on (March 17, 2014, 12:58 GMT)

Congratulations Ireland for another great victory though they almost thrown away the game. But finally got over the finishing line. It's always been great to you boys win the games against full members. Keep it up guys...

Posted by Hatter_Mad on (March 17, 2014, 12:56 GMT)

A thriller to start with - well played Ireland, tough on Zimbabwe!

Posted by Stouffer on (March 17, 2014, 12:36 GMT)

if Ireland lose I'd largely blame Kevin O'Brien for throwing his wicket away when singles would have done the job. He did the hard work, then got carried away.

Posted by Snambidi on (March 17, 2014, 11:38 GMT)

Zimbabwe score is quite on the higher side. But the Chase from Ireland ,especially St Patrick day,will have to be more vigorous . Irish Spirit is very famous.Those who are familiar with Notredame Football would never forget the Spirit of Irish.in cricket also their spirit is not different. We should remember the Ireland Team consists of some of the players who had beaten the Mighty Pakistan under the leadership of Inzimam ul Haq. Pakistan could never forget the match. The present chase& it's vastness suggests a win for Ireland. But then Cricket is a glorious Game of Uncertainty. So let us wait & watch

Posted by   on (March 17, 2014, 11:09 GMT)

Very respectable score for Zimbabwe, but are their bowlers good enough to defend it? Their medium pacers will be quite hitable on this track I reckon, can their inexperienced spinners step up?

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