Mooney hit for sixes as Irish run comes to halt
Norman Vanua smashed four sixes from seven balls to snatch an astonishing two-wicket victory for Papua New Guinea in Belfast yesterday and end Ireland's 100pc record in the World T20 qualifiers.
William Porterfield's 57 not out and a late flourish from Alex Cusack took Ireland to 123-9 after oddly choosing to bat at Stormont and that looked just enough in a low-scoring game as the Pacific Islanders slumped to 93-8.
Tail-ender Vanua had other ideas. The first of his sixes off Alex Cusack and a run off the last ball left 20 needed from the final two overs. Remarkably, the game was over five balls later as three sixes off John Mooney interspersed with a couple of singles brought an abrupt finish with seven balls to spare.
That the unfortunate bowler was Ireland's most passionate performer only added to the agony of losing a proud unbeaten streak in the WT20 qualifiers that dates back 22 matches to March 2012.
Ireland are also no longer in control of their own destiny. Victories in their final two matches against Hong Kong and Jersey will only be enough to win Group A and ensure qualification for next year's World T20 finals in India if PNG slip up against Nepal, Namibia or the USA.
Meanwhile, the next Irish generation did what their elders couldn't and won a fourth successive game in the U-19 World Cup qualifiers in Jersey, beating the hosts by four wickets. Tom Stanton of Merrion took 4-34 as Jersey were bowled out for 113.