by BBC Sport
Ed Joyce praised Ireland’s bowlers after his century helped secure a thrilling five-run World Cup Pool B victory over Zimbabwe in Hobart.
Joyce hit 112 while Alex Cusack took two wickets in the final over as Ireland moved into a qualifying spot.
“To get them four down early on was a great effort – I think that won the game for us,” said the Sussex batsman.
“It’s fantastic for the tournament to have these close games and we seem to be playing in a lot of them.”
Joyce’s third one-day international century, along with a fine 97 from Andrew Balbirnie, helped Ireland post 331-8, their highest ever score at a World Cup, but Zimbabwe looked like chasing down the record chase.
Brendan Taylor’s superb 121 gave Zimbabwe hope and there was controversy when John Mooney took a catch close to the boundary board to dismiss Sean Williams, who scored 96, with 19 balls left.
The third umpire was called to judge the catch, although Williams did not remain on the field of play after he instead opted to take the word of Mooney that he had taken the catch inside the board.
Alex Cusack held his nerve as he claimed the final two wickets in the last over, first getting Regis Chakabva to drag on before Tawanda Mupariwa skied a catch captain William Porterfield gratefully accepted.
“I had a little luck, being dropped a couple of times, but I was really happy with how I hit the ball after a got to 50,” added Joyce, who was named man of the match.
“I played well but I think Andrew Balbirnie probably had a better innings.
“William Porterfield was the right man to be under that final catch and Alex Cusack was the right man to be bowling.”
Ireland face holders India, who have already qualified for the quarter-finals, on Tuesday in Hamilton before taking on Pakistan in their final pool game on 15 March in Adelaide.
The last match is likely to be a must-win game for the Irish after Pakistan moved above them on run-rate thanks to a surprise victory over South Africa on Saturday.
“It looks like we will have to win one of our final two games and I think it will probably all come down to the Pakistan match,” said Joyce.
“But that’s the way it should be to get through – you should have to win a lot of games.
“Pakistan are one of those teams, especially if they get a score on the board, who are very difficult to chase down as they have a lot of skilful bowlers.
“It will be exciting for both teams and exciting for the tournament.”