Cricket World Cup: Zimbabwe game 'now big' for Ireland

Hashim Amla after hitting a cut shot with Ireland wicket-keeper Gary Wilson looking on
Hashim Amla hit 159 for South Africa after being dropped on 10 by Ed Joyce

Ireland's game with Zimbabwe on Saturday is "now very big" after their World Cup thrashing by South Africa, says captain William Porterfield.

Hashim Amla's 159 and Faf du Plessis's 109 helped South Africa to 411-4 with the Irish all-out for 210 in Canberra on Tuesday.

However, a win in Hobart on Saturday will keep Ireland's hopes of a quarter-final spot very much alive.

"The game against Zimbabwe now is very big for us," said Porterfield.

"We'll be looking to go down there [to Hobart] and pick up two points."

Porterfield acknowledged that the Irish had endured a "difficult evening" against a sharp Proteas side.

Pool B
TeamPlayedWonLostN/RR/RPoints
1India3300+2.636
2South Africa4310+1.956
3West Indies4220-0.314
4Ireland3210-1.144
5Zimbabwe4130-0.722
6Pakistan3120-1.372
7UAE3030-1.330

"They played very well. We had one early breakthrough and wanted more but then it was hard for us," said the Ireland skipper after his team were unable to build on John Mooney's early dismissal of Quinton de Kock.

Ireland's prospects weren't helped when Amla was dropped on 10 as Ed Joyce failed to hold a sharp chance with the opener going on to hit another 149 runs.

"You want to be taking your chances but that's part of cricket," added Ireland skipper Porterfield.

"All credit to him [Amla]. He played very well. It was a very good pitch and it was very difficult to muster up those wickets."

Du Plessis, Amla and AB de Villiers departed to leave South Africa on 301-3, but Ireland's death bowling was once again punished as Rilee Rossouw (61) and David Miller (46) produced a 110-run partnership.

Andrew Balbirnie hits a pull shot in Tuesday's game in Canberra
Andrew Balbirnie top-scored for Ireland with 58

Any slim Irish hopes of getting near the huge South African total ended as Paul Stirling, Porterfield, Joyce, Niall O'Brien and Gary Wilson were cheaply dismissed to leave them on 48-5 in the 11th over.

Andrew Balbirnie's 58 and Kevin O'Brien's 48 helped the Irish edge towards respectability and some late aggressive hitting by George Dockrell and Max Sorensen moved them beyond 200 before they were all-out in the 46th over.

"All credit to the lower order for the way that they stuck at it," continued Porterfield.

"And with the partnership [of 81] between Kevin O'Brien and Andrew Balbirnie, there were still a few good things in there."

Ireland remain well placed to qualify, although the margin of defeat at the Manuka Oval will have a negative impact on their net run rate before Saturday's Zimbabwe contest.

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