Ireland deny Zimbabwe in run feast
Ireland maintained their quest for the quarter-finals with a thrilling five-run victory over Zimbabwe in Hobart.
Ed Joyce made 112, while Andy Balbirnie was run out three short of a maiden hundred as Ireland posted 331-8, their highest one-day international total.
It left Zimbabwe needing to make the highest chase in World Cup history, but despite 121 off 91 balls from skipper Brendan Taylor they were 326 all out.
Ireland next face unbeaten India, who have already qualified, on Tuesday.
The Irish team’s final match is the last of the group fixtures in the tournament, against Pakistan on 15 March, when West Indies face UAE, and is likely to determine which other three sides will advance to the quarter-finals from Pool B.
After a quiet start in which only six fours were scored in the opening 20 overs, Joyce and Balbirnie shared an Irish third-wicket record of 138 in 18 overs.
Sussex left-hander Joyce, who played 17 ODI matches for England from 2006-7, averaging 27, might have departed first ball, but a TV review deemed his edge had fallen short of slip.
He was dropped on 34 and again having completed his third ODI ton, while Balbirnie’s attractive innings came to an unfortunate end when his dive was short of the crease while attempting an ambitious second run in the final over.
Despite the formidable target, Taylor, who became only the fourth Zimbabwean to pass 5,000 ODI runs, used his feet in assured fashion, timing the ball exquisitely to compile his first century since 2011.
He had guided his team to within 109 of victory when he was smartly deceived by Alex Cusack’s slower ball in the 38th over, spooning a catch to mid-wicket.
Left-hander Sean Williams, who had compiled 149 with Taylor, somehow kept his team in contention before, with 32 needed from 19 balls, he holed out to deep mid-wicket when on 96, John Mooney taking the catch above his head with his foot perilously close to the boundary boards.
Yet 17 runs from the penultimate over kept the match on a knife-edge. They needed seven from the final six balls, but Cusack took the remaining two wickets to finish with 4-32 as Ireland held on for their third victory in four matches, sending the plucky Zimbabweans out of the competition. BBC Sport