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Cricket: O'Brien's heroics crush Zimbabwe

NIALL O'BRIEN'S hard-hitting 62 set Ireland on the way to a 54-run victory over Zimbabwe in Colombo yesterday and gave his team a major boost ahead of next week's World T20 group games.

O'Brien smashed four fours and two sixes in a 48-ball innings and his brother Kevin added another two maximums in a quick-fire 30 not out to propel Ireland to 181-5 from their 20 overs.

George Dockrell then took three wickets and Clontarf all-rounder Alex Cusack weighed in with 3-6 from three overs as Zimbabwe -- a Test-match playing side and a full member of the International Cricket Council -- were restricted to 127-8.

The margin of victory -- 54 runs is a thrashing in the shortest version of the game -- will give Ireland genuine hope of upsetting Australia and the West Indies in their group games next Wednesday and Sunday.

Irish Independent