Ireland beats Zimbabwe by 54 runs
Niall O'Brien and Alex Cusack play starring roles as Ireland sends out positive signals ahead of ICC World T20
Niall O'Brien top-scored for Ireland with a 49-ball 62.
Ireland was ruthless in its demolition of Zimbabwe by a whopping 54 runs in a warm-up match between the two sides at the Moors Sports Club ground in Colombo on Thursday.
Batting first after being put in by Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor, Ireland got off to a hectic start courtesy captain William Porterfield, who scored a 14-ball 19, and Paul Stirling, who scored a 12-ball 13. Ed Joyce came in at number three and scored 29 from 28 balls.
But the innings really took flight when Niall O’Brien came in. Ireland was 36 for two from 4.3 overs at that stage, and when O’Brien was finally dismissed in the 20th over for his 49-ball 62, Ireland had reached 172 for five. O’Brien hit four fours and two sixes in his knock.
Kevin O’Brien pitched in with an unbeaten 14-ball 30 as Ireland put up a formidable 181 for five from their quota of overs.
Chris Mpofu was the best of the Zimbabwe bowlers on show, returning figures of 3 for 39.
Zimbabwe’s reply stuttered right from the start as Vusi Sibanda was caught leg before off Boyd Rankin off the first ball of the innings. Hamilton Masakadza did his best to put up a fight, scoring 44 from 27 balls with five fours and two sixes, but with little coming by way of contribution from the other batsmen, the result was always obvious.
George Dockrell, the Irish left-arm spinner, was effective, returning figures of 3 for 38 from his four overs, while Alex Cusack, the right-arm medium pacer, bowled an incredible spell of 3-0-6-3 to stop Zimbabwe at 127 for eight.