ICC World T20 2014: Ireland can get better after last-gasp win over Zimbabwe in Bangladesh
Stirling and McBrine the heroes for Super 10 hopefuls
By Kyle McCallan
Last Updated: 18/03/14 1:13pm
Ireland batters Stuart Thompson and Alex Cusack scurried through for a single after Zimbabwe 'keeper Brendan Taylor had missed the stumps with his throw to cement a thrilling three-wicket win.
William Porterfield's men made hard work of chasing 163 - they slipped from 129-2 to 162-7 and then struggled to finish off Zimbabwe despite needing just seven runs from the final two overs.
However, former Ireland all-rounder McCallan told Sky Sports that he was delighted his country prevailed and says they should be better when they tackle United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
"It was a vital day for Irish cricket," said McCallan. "We needed a win and we got a win.
"For a lot of the chase Ireland were in control but every time they looked comfortable they gave a wicket away so there are probably lessons to learn going forward.
"But I think we still have a bit in the tank, and certainly think we can bowl better."
Ireland - who will enter the Super 10 stage of the ICC World T20 and battle South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and England if they finish top of their qualifying group - had burly opener Paul Stirling to thank for getting their pursuit off to a flying start.
The Middlesex player walloped 60 off 34 deliveries to record his fifth half-century in T20Is and won praise from McCallen for his efforts.
But the Sky Sports pundit also pinpointed the impact of twirler Andrew McBrine, who captured two wickets for 26 in his four overs during the Zimbabwe innings.
"Stirling, a man of immense talent and strength, delivered, and his 60-odd off 30-odd balls put us in a strong position and took a bit of the pressure off in the middle overs," said McCallan.
"I also thought the Irish spinners bowled really well, particularly McBrine, a 21-year-old lad in his first world tournament who took to things like a duck to water.
"He took a wicket in his first over, got a number of leading edges and his figures could arguably have been even better, and the experience of George Dockrell helped him, so the spin is a huge plus for Ireland."
Zimbabwe 'keeper Taylor, meanwhile, failed to dislodge his glove when hurling the final ball of the match towards the stumps, and McCallan's fellow analyst Dirk Nannes thinks the 28-year-old may rue that decision.
However, the ex-Netherlands and Australia left-arm quick wondered why there was not a fielder in closer proximity to the wicket and thinks that method could be adopted by sides in future during frantic finales.
"There are so many things that go on in a pressure-cooker environment like the last ball and so taking the glove off was probably the last thing he was thinking, especially as he is captain, too," Nannes said of Taylor.
"He'll probably think of it next time, though, but perhaps also getting a fielder up close to the stumps [is worth trying] as you know a throw is going to come whether not the ball is hit.
"I think you can sacrifice someone from the outfield for that."
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