WT20: Ireland repeat their St Patrick's trick defeating Zimbabwe
Sylhet: Ireland won a dramatic World Twenty20 clash against Zimbabwe with a bye off the final ball as they got their campaign off to a victorious start on St Patrick's Day.
Ireland celebrate a Zimbabwe wicket during the ICC World Twenty20 Round One match in Sylhet yesterday. Pic/PTI
The Irish announced their arrival on the world stage with a March 17 victory over Pakistan seven years ago and had spoken of repeating the feat against more established opponents again. After being set 164 for victory, they looked like they would reach their total comfortably with man of the match Paul Stirling hitting 60 off 34 balls.
But after losing two wickets in the final over, Ireland's luck was almost running out before Alex Cusack ran on a bye on the last ball and Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor failed to hit the stumps, with Stuart Thompson colliding with a Zimbabwe fielder as the Irish claimed a three-wicket win in the Group 'B' clash in Sylhet.
Ireland got off to a flying start and William Porterfield and fellow opener Stirling put on an 80-run first-wicket stand before captain Porterfield (31) was out as Sean Williams made the breakthrough for Zimbabwe.
Panyangara finished with figures of four for 37. Earlier, Taylor scored an impressive 59 off 46 balls to help mount a respectable total of 163 for five after Porterfield won the toss and put Zimbabwe in to bat, with George Dockrell taking 2 18.
Zimbabwe got off to a shaky start and lost opener Raza (10) early on before Taylor joined Hamilton Masakadza at the crease and they began to put some runs on the board.
Netherlands beat UAE
Meanwhile, Netherlands began their ICC World Twenty20 Qualifying campaign with a comfortable six-wicket win over UAE. Chasing 152 to win, the Dutch team overhauled the target with seven balls to spare after openers Stephan Muburgh (55) and Michale Swart (26) set up the victory with a quick fire 69-run stand.
Brief scores: Zimbabwe 163-5 (B Taylor 59; G Dockrell 2-18) lost to Ireland 164-7 (P Stirling 60; T Panyangara
4-37) by three wickets