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Ireland cheats Zimbabwe in thriller

by AFP
07 Mar 2015 at 20:17hrs | Views

Hobart - Ireland maintained their bid for a place in the Cricket World Cup quarter-finals by holding their nerve to beat Zimbabwe by just five runs in a Pool B clash in Hobart on Saturday.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor insisted his team had been victims of a World Cup miscarriage of justice on Saturday when Ireland fielder John Mooney held a crucial catch despite indications he had touched the boundary with his foot.

With Zimbabwe needing 32 to win off 20 balls and with four wickets left, Sean Williams, on 96, launched a huge hook off Kevin O'Brien towards deep midwicket where Mooney reached high to grab the ball.

But as he claimed the catch, the big Irishman appeared to slightly touch the boundary cushion with his foot which should have resulted in a six.

As the decision was examined, Williams left the Bellerive Oval pitch and the catch stood.

"You've got to take his (Mooney's) word for it. They zoomed in, and I thought it was pretty clear. But you've got to take the fielder's word," said Taylor who hit a blistering 121 with 11 fours and four sixes as his team chased what would have been a record score.

Ireland captain William Porterfield tried to downplay the controversy.

"It's very hard to tell when you're on the line. I haven't seen a replay. Whether or not he did or didn't, it was a great catch," he said.

The result meant that Zimbabwe, with four defeats and one win, have no hope of making the quarter-finals while Ireland are still in contention after their third win and with two more group games to play this week.

Their latest victory over a Test nation left Ireland as one of three teams in the group on six points behind defending champions India, the already-qualified group leaders with four sides going through to the last eight.

Ireland piled up 331 for eight on the back of Ed Joyce's 112 and 97 from Andrew Balbirnie at the Bellerive Oval.

That left Zimbabwe needing to set a new record by a team batting second to win a World Cup match.

Zimbabwe, who had to win to keep their quarter-final hopes alive, were in dire straits at 74 for four.

But stand-in skipper Brendan Taylor's 121 and his fifth-wicket partnership of 149 with all-rounder Sean Williams (96) gave them hope.

They got their target down to seven off six balls with two wickets standing but Alex Cusack struck twice in the final over to seal a dramatic win.

Source - AFP

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