SYLHET: Ireland beat United Arab Emirates (UAE) by 21 runs via Duckworth-Lewis method in a World Twenty20 Group B match that twice plunged into darkness following power failure at the Sylhet Stadium on Wednesday. After their disciplined bowlers had restricted UAE to 123-6, Ireland were cruising at 101-3 in 14 overs when floodlights went off for the first time. When play resumed, two more deliveries could be bowled before another power failure hit the stadium. To make it worse, rain followed and Ireland, then on 103-3 in 14.2 overs, were found 21 runs ahead at that stage when the game was called off. Ed Joyce (43) and skipper William Porterfield (33 not out) shone with the bat for Ireland who top Group B after their second successive victory.
Zimbabwe beat Netherlands: Earlier in another Group B match, Zimbabwe kept alive their hopes of reaching the next stage after Vusi Sibanda’s last ball six helped them pip Netherlands by five wickets. Tom Cooper struck an unbeaten 72 and featured in two half-century stands to help Netherlands overcome a wobbly start and post a competitive 140-5. Netherlands captain Peter Borren himself did little to justify his decision to bat first, virtually gifting Prosper Utseya his wicket with a rash shot and his departure left the Dutch side reeling at 35-4 in the fifth over.
Tom Cooper first rebuilt the innings with a 52-run stand with brother Ben Cooper (20) and then counter-attacked, adding 53 more in about six overs with Mudassar Bukhari (14 not out). Tom’s 58-ball knock contained one six and nine fours, the final being an amazing improvised shot as he switched stance to scoop a slow bouncer from Tinashe Panyangara to help it to the ropes.
Zimbabwe were going steady in their chase at 85-1 in 13 overs before Pieter Seelar dismissed Hamilton Masakadza (43) and the scoreless Elton Chigumbura in the same over to peg them back. Captain Brendan Taylor (49) fell at a crucial juncture and needing one run off the last three balls, Sean Williams failed to score off the fourth delivery and ran himself out in the fifth. Sibanda kept his cool, however, and belted the final Ahsan Malik delivery for a six for a thrilling win that would keep them in the hunt to progress to the super 10 stage.
Ireland 103-3 (E Joyce 43, W Porterfield 33; Sharif Asadullah 2-21, Amjad Javed 1-18) beat UAE 123-6 (Shaiman Anwar 30, Amjad Ali 20; P Stirling 2-12, KJ O’Brien 2-17) by 21 runs (D/L method)
Zimbabwe 146-5 (B Taylor 49, H Masakadza 43; P Seelaar 2-9, T van der Gugten 1-22) beat Netherlands 140-5 (T Cooper 72, B Cooper 20; P Utseya 2-24, N Mushangwe 1-24) by five wickets.
MELBOURNE: Australia’s trip to a seventh World Cup final on Sunday may seem standard fare for ...