Ireland and Devon relish giant-killing victories

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The Independent Online

After producing only 11 giant-killings in 41 years, English cricket's premier knockout competition threw up two in one day yesterday as Ireland and Devon pulled off sensational victories in the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy.

Devon knocked out Leicestershire in a thrilling finish at Exmouth, last pair Andrew Proctor and Aqeel Ahmed surviving the last three balls from pace bowler Jon Dakin to tie the scores at 159, the minor county earning a third-round home tie against Yorkshire by losing fewer wickets after Leicestershire had been bowled out in 47.2 overs.

It was Devon's first win over a first-class county but the scale of their feat in defeating a side that plays in the Second Division in both the Championship and the National League could not match Ireland's achievement in overcoming Surrey at Clondarf.

Surrey ­ County Champions three times in the last five years ­ took the National League title and the inaugural Twenty20 Cup last season, which makes their exit arguably the biggest upset in domestic cricket history.

Having dismissed Surrey for 261 on Wednesday in a match forced into a second day by rain, Ireland cruised home with 10 balls to spare after Jason Molins ­ a City of London banker ­ and Australian-born Jeremy Bray had put on 103 for the first wicket. They face Northamptonshire at home in the next round.

* Muttiah Muralitharan took 6 for 45 to reach 519 wickets and equal Courtney Walsh's record as Sri Lanka took control on the first day of the first Test against Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday. Sri Lanka finished on 67 without loss, having dismissed the hosts for 199.

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