Ireland Turn Over Zimbabwe In World Cup Warm-Up
Ireland 245-6 (Botha 79, K O'Brien 62no) beat
Zimbabwe 244-8 (Chigumbura 103no) by 4 wickets
ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 warm-up, Nagpur
Ireland beat Zimbabwe by four wickets to register an impressive final-over victory in an ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 warm-up match in Nagpur.
After Zimbabwe, boosted by an unbeaten century by captain Elton Chigumbura, posted 244 for eight, Ireland hit back to score 245 for six.
Their run chase was all the more impressive considering that neither Ed Joyce nor William Porterfield were played - rested, to allow some squad players the opportunity to press for inclusion when the competition gets underway this weekend.
And they did themselves no harm with Andre Botha hitting 79 in 101 balls, Kevin O'Brien 62 not out in 61 deliveries and Alex Cusack 47 in 67 balls from number three in the order.
Zimbabwe were in a strong position when Irish openers Paul Stirling (0) and Niall O'Brien (15) fell cheaply but Cusack, Botha and then O'Brien first steadied the innings before accelerating to secure victory with three balls remaining.
Shingirai Masakadza and Ray Price took two wickets apiece but their efforts proved to be in vain as Zimbabwe - who were easily beaten by South Africa in their first match - slumped to their second straight defeat.
Chigumbura had earlier rescued their innings and almost single-handedly driven them to a competitive score with 103 in just 81 balls. His innings included eight fours and three sixes but only three other players could reach double-figure scores.
Trent Johnston (2-9) and Boyd Rankin (1-49) inflicted early blows from which Zimbabwe struggled to recover until Tatenda Taibu ground out 45 in 78 balls, Craig Ervine hit 27 and then Chigumbura launched the recovery.
Prosper Utseya made a useful 26 before Botha also returned two wickets by dismissing him as well as Masakadza towards the end of Zimbabwe's 50 overs.
Neither side is expected to make much impression at the World Cup, with Zimbabwe available at 250/1 and Ireland at 500/1 with .
They begin their campaigns with matches against Australia on 21st February and Bangladesh on 25th February respectively.
© Cricket World 2011