Ireland won a dramatic World Twenty20 clash against Zimbabwe with a bye off the final ball as they got their campaign off to a victorious start on St Patrick’s Day.
The Irish announced their arrival on the world stage with a March 17 victory over Pakistan seven years ago and had spoken of repeating the feat against more established opponents again.
After being set 164 for victory, they looked like they would reach their 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 running out before Alex Cusack ran on a bye on the last ball and Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor failed to hit the stumps, with Stuart Thompson colliding with a Zimbabwe fielder as the Irish claimed a three-wicket win in the Group B clash in Sylhet.
Captain Porterfield admitted the nerves started to get to him when Ireland needed just seven runs from the last two overs, but managed only three from the penultimate over and then lost their two wickets.
He said: “I was fine up until about three balls to go. Obviously it had got a lot closer than we would have liked, especially getting down to needing seven off the last two (overs), but all credit to the way Zimbabwe bowled in the last few overs.
“They took those few wickets and put us under pressure.”
Man of match Stirling also reiterated his captain’s thoughts on their strong opening partnership, but stressed there is still hard work to be done in their upcoming fixtures against UAE on Wednesday and Holland on Friday.
He said: “To get off to a good start was the plan but we haven’t really done that recently. We’re thankful that it came off today.
“I think I had to keep playing my natural game (after losing Porterfield) and keep being aggressive and hopefully get that run rate up to the rate that we required - and I’m just glad we got over the line.”