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Last-gasp Ireland stun Zimbabwe

Ireland defied their standing as an associate nation to beat Zimbabwe by three wickets in a thrilling World Twenty20 game.

Needing seven runs from 13 balls and with Ed Joyce and Kevin O’Brien well set, Ireland looked to be cruising towards their victory target of 164.

But O’Brien was caught at long-off by Sean Williams off Tinashe Panyangara before Tendai Chatara produced a miserly penultimate over that went for just three runs.

Paul Stirling hits out in his 60 from the top of the order to set up Ireland's thrilling three-wicket win over Zimbabwe in Sylhet today

 

With four needed from Panyangara’s final set of six, chaos ensued as Joyce was bowled by the third delivery for 22 with two still required.

 

Max Sorenson was run out next ball by a Williams direct-hit, and Stuart Thompson and Alex Cusack bizarrely refused a second run from the fifth ball to leave the scores tied.

Cusack swung wildly and missed at the final delivery, but wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor’s shy at the stumps was just as inaccurate and Ireland secured victory with a bye.

Earlier Will Porterfield’s side restricted Zimbabwe to 163 for five in Sylhet, with spinner George Dockrell producing outstanding figures of 2-18 from his four overs.

Zimbabwe skipper Taylor was the pick of the full member’s batsmen with a 46-ball 59, while Elton Chigumbura cleared the ropes twice late on in a quickfire 22 not out.

Ireland’s reply had started excellently as Porterfield (31) and Paul Stirling put on 80 for the first wicket in eight overs - the latter ultimately top-scoring with a 34-ball 60.

The result leaves Ireland as the early table-toppers in Group B, where one place is on offer in the Super 10 stage. They face United Arab Emirates on Wednesday and Netherlands on Friday.

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