Ireland beat Zimbabwe in World Cup thriller

SportBy Kevin Palmer
Ireland's cricketers celebrate another win in Hobart
Ireland's cricketers celebrate another win in Hobart

Thrilling, exhilarating and dramatic until the final ball - anyone who said cricket is a boring sport better think again after Ireland's sensational win against Zimbabwe at the World Cup.

Zimbabwe appeared to be favourites to take the victory in what was a crucial Group B game in Hobart heading into the final over that was bowled by Alex Cusask, but two wickets edged the Irish over the line as they secured their third win at the World Cup.

Pakistan's surprise victory against South Africa earlier in the day may have been a big blow to Ireland's hopes of qualifying for the next round, but this win keeps their hopes alive for another week at least.

Ed Joyce's third one-day international century helped Ireland post 331 for eight - their highest ever score at a World Cup - but Zimbabwe looked like running down the record chase until a debatable John Mooney catch.

Replays appeared to show Mooney had stepped on the rope when he held on to remove Sean Williams, who was four short of a century and seemingly in control of the pursuit.

The third umpire was called to judge the catch, although Williams did not remain on the field of play after he instead opted to take the word of Mooney that he had taken the catch inside the rope.

There was still drama to follow as number 10 Tawanda Mupariwa slapped 19 from the penultimate over, delivered by Kevin O'Brien, to leave Zimbabwe needing seven from the last six balls.

But Alex Cusack held his nerve as he claimed the final two wickets, first getting Regis Chakabva to drag on before Mupariwa skied a catch William Porterfield gratefully accepted.

While Joyce's 112 (above) earned him the man-of-the-match award Cusack's four for 32 was just as invaluable, especially after he removed Zimbabwe skipper Brendon Taylor for 121.

"We certainly did need those all runs playing a team with three spinners and three medium pacers," said Joyce.

"We knew we'd have to bowl and field well to defend that target. I thought the boys did really well at the end to hold it together.

"Alex Cusack has got a cool head, a great guy to have bowling that last over. I'm glad he was the one bowling at the end there with Will Porterfield under that last catch.

"It keeps us going now heading into our final two matches."

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor offered his thoughts on a desperate defeat for his team: "Ireland were a little bit more hungry and they deserved the win.

"We haven't been in this position much before in a tight position where we need to held our nerve and it's hurting a lot. But, credit to Ireland for the way they played.

"We were poor in the field, I didn't think we were hungry, our energy levels were low and it's not something I can comprehend.

"We've got one game left, so we need to pull our socks up and play with some pride."

Comedian Dara O'Briain was among those toasting Ireland's latest cricket success, which was the biggest story on Twitter in Dublin on Saturday morning.

Ireland now face the daunting task of playing India in their next match, with qualification likely to come down to next Sunday's match against Pakistan.