Ireland win a tie

Now that is a one-dayer, with a finish and conclusion that only cricket can produce. What other sport would produce a tie and witness one of the teams doing a victory lap?

Zimbabwe had the match by the throat and somehow lost it. Well, they didn’t officially lose it – but Ireland most certainly took more from the match than they did. Here is what I mumbled on about during comms in the final three overs.

49.6 White to Matsikenyeri, OUT, drives, misses and it’s a tie! What a match; what an incredible last 10 overs. Only the third tie in World Cup history – all three have involved an African nation – and Ireland jump in delight
EC Rainsford run out 1 (10m 1b 0×4 0×6) SR: 100.00
Last ball
49.5 White to Matsikenyeri, 2 runs, well what a mad ball. Short, wide, cut just behind backward point who made a brilliant attempt to catch it. They go for a single, in comes the throw – but the batsman appears to run in front of his stumps…and he’s home safe! My word this is madness
49.4 White to Rainsford, 1 run, driven past cover – and he gets the single! This gets Matsikenyeri back on strike – not a good ball from White. Not a good over.
This is epic. 4 from 3
But Matsikenyeri is now off strike
49.3 White to Matsikenyeri, 1 run, full toss, spooned to midwicket – but no! Dropped? The man came in and appeared to just stop in his tracks, the ball dropping short!
49.2 White to Matsikenyeri, 2 runs, too short, square cut powerfully into the deep
49.1 White to Matsikenyeri, 2 runs, full toss, hammered through cover and long off has a chase to his left…and does well, saving four
Rainsford the No.11 for Zimbabwe, at the non-striker’s end. White’s back into the attack

It’s all down to Matsikenyeri. By not taking the run, he’s back on strike – and only he can win this for Zimbabwe.
48.6 KJ O’Brien to Mpofu, OUT, GONE! Smacked to mid-on, they run a single – but Matsikenyeri stays at the non-striker’s end and mid-on’s throw hits the stumps
CB Mpofu run out 0 (3m 5b 0×4 0×6) SR: 0.00
Ireland are buzzing now. 9 from 7
48.5 KJ O’Brien to Mpofu, no run, hammered down the ground – no! Brilliant stop from the bowler’s right foot
9 from 8
48.4 KJ O’Brien to Mpofu, no run, inside edge! My word that was close
48.3 KJ O’Brien to Mpofu, no run, driven back to the bowler – the batsman wants a run! How? Scampers back into his crease
Ooh this is close now. 9 from 10
48.2 KJ O’Brien to Mpofu, no run, well bowled! Slower, and Mpofu just dabbed it gently to mid-on
9 from 11
48.1 KJ O’Brien to Utseya, OUT, GONE! A full toss, slapped straight to cover! A dreadful shot; Ireland are absolutely ecstatic, never mind the fans in the stands
P Utseya c Morgan b KJ O’Brien 1 (3m 3b 0×4 0×6) SR: 33.33
Here’s Kevin O’Brien for the penultimate over of the match

47.6 Botha to Matsikenyeri, no run, another slower ball but not on target this time; defended.
47.5 Botha to Utseya, 1 run, inside edge, a desperate scrambling single
10 from 14 and the Ireland fans are singing in the stands. All 10 of them
47.4 Botha to Utseya, no run, full, straight, hit back to Botha
That was absolutely dead. Is there a twist in this game? Zimbabwe are doing their utmost to make a pig’s ear of it. 10 from 15. Two quick fours will do it for Zimbabwe, but they seem to be frozen in time
47.3 Botha to Brent, OUT, gone! Excellent slower ball, bang on middle stump, completely foxing the batsman
GB Brent lbw b Botha 3 (15m 12b 0×4 0×6) SR: 25.00
47.2 Botha to Brent, no run, slower ball worked into the packed off side
47.1 Botha to Brent, no run, good line, good length and it’s blocked out to cover
10 from 18. Can Zimbabwe mess it up?

And with a great sense of inevitability, they did mess it up – due in no small part to Stuart Matsikenyeri receiving very little of the strike after playing a gem of a knock. That was unfortunate, but these things happen and his team-mates couldn’t rise to the occasion.

Well batted Jeremy Bray, too. The most laid back of characters off the pitch, he’s a bulldog with a bat in his hand. The World Cup is alive.

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