World Twenty20: Irish celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with last-ball T20 triumph

 

Ireland won a dramatic World Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe on Monday with a bye off the final ball as they got their campaign off to a victorious start on Saint Patrick’s Day.

The Irish announced their arrival on the world stage with a 17 March victory over Pakistan seven years ago and had spoken of repeating the feat.

After being set a target of 164 for victory by Zimbabwe, they looked as if they would reach that total comfortably, with man of the match Paul Stirling hitting 60 off 34 balls. But after losing two wickets in the final over, Ireland’s luck was almost draining away before Alex Cusack ran on a bye on the last ball. Zimbabwe’s captain, Brendan Taylor, failed to hit the stumps and Stuart Thompson collided with a Zimbabwe fielder as the Irish claimed a three-wicket win in the Group B match in Sylhet.

The England captain Stuart Broad is confident he will play “a full part” in the team’s World Twenty20 campaign despite a knee injury. Broad, suffering patellar tendinitis in his right knee, missed the last two games in the West Indies this month and will also  sit out today’s warm-up match against the same opponents in Fatullah.

But the 27-year-old fast bowler said he will “definitely” be fit for the warm-up match against India in Mirpur tomorrow.

“I’ve had an injection in my knee last week. Generally they’re eight to 10 days, but with the flight we left Barbados Friday afternoon and what are we now, Monday morning?” Broad said in Dhaka. “It was quite a long travel so obviously I had to manage that well. It’s unlikely that I’ll play [against West Indies] because I haven’t actually run on my knee yet since I’ve had the injection, but I’d say I’ll definitely play against India the next day.”

England, who lost the three-match T20 series in West Indies 2-1, will begin their World Cup campaign on Saturday against New Zealand in Chittagong.

Broad added that Ben Stokes was “heartbroken” after learning a moment of petulance had cost him his World Twenty20 place.

The Durham all-rounder, who bucked the tourists’ trend by coming out of the Ashes whitewash with his reputation strongly enhanced, had been pencilled in for a key role in this month’s tournament in Bangladesh until he fractured his right hand last week in Barbados. Plenty of batsmen have left the Caribbean nursing broken bones, but Stokes’ injury was self-inflicted when he lashed out at a locker after being dismissed for a duck.

“Stokesy is obviously a passionate guy and he was disappointed, he got a fantastic ball to get out first ball,” said Broad. “He stood up and apologised to the team and was borderline in tears, thinking he had let not just himself but his team-mates down and missed the chance to go to a World Cup. At 22, that is a major thing in his career so far.

“Unfortunately, he is going to be out for a couple of months probably. He was heartbroken and made his feelings very public to the guys. This will be a learning curve for him. Hopefully, he won’t rule himself out of too many World Cups doing stuff like that.”

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