A match that lives long in the memory. A dramatic tie in their first World Cup game against Zimbabwe at Sabina Park in 2007 is the favourite game of Joe Doherty.
Joe Doherty played all his club cricket with Strabane, becoming Chairman of the NW and the Irish Cricket Union, as well as President of Cricket Ireland in 2014/15.He was also Chairman of the influential CI Cricket Committee for many years.
MY FAVOURITE MATCH: No. 630 Ireland v Zimbabwe 2007 World Cup.
There are many contenders for my favourite Irish match - all of them in the last 15 years - but it will probably come as a surprise to many that I didn’t pick the historic win over Pakistan on St Patrick’s Day in 2007, nor did I choose any of the three thrillers in New Zealand and Australia in the World Cup of 2015 when I was President.
We won thrilling victories at Nelson against the West Indies, at the Gabba in Brisbane against UAE and in Hobart, Tasmania against Zimbabwe, but in my opinion, the performance that set us on the road for those exciting adventures happened eight years earlier, at the beginning of the 2007 World Cup in Jamaica when we came back from the dead to grab a tie against Zimbabwe in our opening group match.
Jeremy Bray scored a sparkling century to help us reach 221 for 9 in our 50 overs, with help from late order cameos provided by Andrew White, Trent Johnston and David Langford-Smith.
Zimbabwe were absolutely cruising at 128 for 3 with a big partnership well set when, as often happens, it took a peculiar or freak occurrence to bring about the breakthrough that we needed to be competitive and it happened when Sibanda, by far their best batsman on the day, trod on his wicket when forcing into the off side.
He had been batting beautifully and when Niall O’Brien noticed that the wicket had been broken, the Irish team’s celebrations showed that that was the opening that we needed. Ireland then steadily took wickets until, in a nailbiting finish, Kevin O'Brien and off-spinner Andrew White bowled the last two overs with nine needed.
With the scores tied, he succeeded in bowling a final delivery dot, which resulted in a run out by wicket-keeper O’Brien to spark off celebrations among the Irish contingent that would have done justice to the World Cup Final itself!
At that moment we all knew that we had not just come to make up the numbers, we had a point on the board that was to prove vital in the final reckoning of the group qualification and two days later we were to return on St Patrick’s Day to see Ireland shake the world of cricket with a fantastic display against Pakistan - but it all started on the 15th!
The Ides of March had struck again, this time foretelling the arrival of Ireland on the world cricket stage.
For my part, I was rooted to the spot on the concrete strip at the long-off boundary - not because I was super cool or anything like that, but because Michael Gillespie (whom I never knew to be superstitious) insisted that nobody on that strip moved out of place at any time during the final two overs!
Ed's postscript: It was an incredibly tense finale, and I was delighted to stay relatively cool to take one of my all-time favourite photos as the tie was secured. I was close to Joe who also asked third umpire Simon Taufel if he was sure it was a tie, and not fewer wickets lost or a super over or whatever. Great times and great memories.
There's a short video of the final stages which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4FHug4zTCQ
|Umpires||IJ Gould (Eng) - BG Jerling (SA)|
|Umpire notes||Match Referee:< RS Mahanama (Sri Lanka)|
|Scorer notes||M Nelson & A Forbes|
|Player of Match||JP Bray|
|Comment||630/5 - World Cup 2007 ODI No 2535|
ICC World Cup - 5th Match, Group D
TV Umpire : BF Bowden (New Zealand)
Reserve Umpire : SJA Taufel (Australia)
|Points Awarded||Ireland 1, Zimbabwe 1|
|WTS Porterfield||c V Sibanda||b CB Mpofu||0||6||0||0|
|JP Bray||not out||115||137||10||2|
|EJG Morgan||c E Chigumbura||b GB Brent||21||27||4||0|
|NJ O'Brien+||c BRM Taylor||b E Chigumbura||1||5||0||0|
|AC Botha||b E Chigumbura||1||7||0||0|
|KJ O'Brien||c BRM Taylor||b EC Rainsford||10||28||2||0|
|AR White||lbw||b GB Brent||28||48||3||0|
|DT Johnston*||run out S Matsikenyeri/CB Mpofu||20||24||2||0|
|WK McCallan||st BRM Taylor||b SC Williams||0||3||0||0|
|D Langford-Smith||c BRM Taylor||b CB Mpofu||15||17||1||0|
|extras||(b1 lb1 w5 nb3)||10|
|TOTAL||9 wickets for||221|
|1-0(WTS Porterfield) 2-43(EJG Morgan) 3-44(NJ O'Brien) 4-64(AC Botha)|
|5-89(KJ O'Brien) 6-145(AR White) 7-182(DT Johnston) 8-182(WK McCallan)|
|T Duffin||c NJ O'Brien||b WB Rankin||12||22||2||0|
|V Sibanda||hit wicket||b AR White||67||84||9||0|
|CJ Chibhabha||c D Langford-Smith||b DT Johnston||12||36||1||0|
|SC Williams||c WB Rankin||b WK McCallan||14||13||2||0|
|S Matsikenyeri||not out||73||76||9||1|
|E Chigumbura||c JP Bray||b WK McCallan||4||9||0||0|
|BRM Taylor+||run out WK McCallan||24||40||3||0|
|GB Brent||lbw||b AC Botha||3||12||0||0|
|P Utseya*||c EJG Morgan||b KJ O'Brien||1||3||0||0|
|CB Mpofu||run out DT Johnston/NJ O'Brien||0||5||0||0|
|EC Rainsford||run out NJ O'Brien/AR White||1||1||0||0|
|extras||(b0 lb1 w7 nb2)||10|
|TOTAL||10 wickets for||221|
|1-26(T Duffin) 2-92(CJ Chibhabha) 3-107(SC Williams) 4-128(V Sibanda)|
|5-133(E Chigumbura) 6-203(BRM Taylor) 7-212(GB Brent) 8-213(P Utseya)|
|9-213(CB Mpofu) 10-221(EC Rainsford)|