Ireland 221-9 v Zimbabwe 221 all out – match tied!Andy Bull:
What a special game and what an amazing comeback by Ireland. Johnston was so close to winning that game with that catch at backward point, diving away to his right the ball grazed his fingertips and fell to earth. If he’d held it, they would have won. As it was the pressure got to Matsikenyeri, and he played and missed the last ball when he only needed one to win.
I cannot believe what I’ve just seen – with the scores tied with one ball to go, Matsi misses White’s yorker, ‘keeper O’Brien gathers, hurls at the bowler’s end and runs out the non-striker. It’s a tie!
Ireland’s players go crazy – it’s like Australia v South Africa in ’99 all over again. Zimbabwe have somehow thrown it away. Nine were needed off the last six, with Matsi facing. He hit the first two balls for twos and then spooned a full toss to midwicket – but Rankin failed to spot it in time and missed the chance.
With four needed off three, last man Rainsford drove a one. Matsi then swiped at White’s next ball and got a top edge which Johnston, diving backwards at gully, nearly pouched in what would have been the catch of his life. But he dropped it, and as he hurled it back at the stumps Rainsford only avoided being run out by careering straight through the stumps.
Matsi then slashed the penultimate ball for two to leave him needing one to win it off the final ball – only for White to fox him in the flight and send the Irish fans bonkers.
I can’t quite believe what just happened – half an hour ago, Ireland were dead and buried.
Zimbabwe looked to be home and dry – and Kevin Curran, their coach, looks disconsolate in the dressing room. He is severely unimpressed. A terrific comeback from Ireland – particularly Andre Botha’s overs at the end, cutting Zimbabwe’s momentum dead. The World Cup is well and truly alive.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty