Cricket: Mooney on fire for Irish
John Mooney starred with bat and ball as Ireland scored a consolation victory over Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday to reclaim 10th place in the ICC one-day international rankings.
After two narrow defeats had seen Ireland lose the three-match series and slip below their opponents in the standings, a 20-run win restored some pride.
Mooney was last man out for 55 in the final over of the Ireland innings but a total of 244 proved beyond Zimbabwe after the North County all-rounder bowled Tatendu Taibu and had captain Elton Chigumbura caught behind.
Five months away from the World Cup, the concern for Phil Simmons is that his top order again failed to fire, but the coach will be encouraged that for the third match his middle order came to the rescue -- this time in the form of Andrew White and Mooney.
White played some of his impish flip shots until he missed one and was bowled for 41, but it was Mooney who really caught the eye, reaching a very important half-century with a six over long-on.
Mooney lifted another maximum as well as two fours, and with George Dockrell he added an invaluable 30 for the last wicket from only 16 balls before he was run out attempting to keep the strike.
Mooney arrived in the middle with Ireland 128-6 after the run-out of skipper William Porterfield for a watchful 46 and immediately hit his stride in a partnership of 66 with White.
When Dockrell took the third of his three wickets from a probing 10 overs of left-arm spin, Zimbabwe were 164-9 and only a last-wicket partnership of 60 gave them a degree of respectability.
The final pairing had reduced the requirement to a worrying 27 from three overs when Kevin O'Brien was recalled to finish the job with his third lbw verdict.
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