Zimbabwe – 152-5 in 20 overs (Milton Shumba 46*, Ryan Burl 37*, Wessly Madhevere 21; Shane Getkate 3/20, Ben White 1/33)
Ireland – 153-3 in 18.3 overs (Kevin O’Brien 60, Paul Stirling 37, George Dockrell 33*; Ryan Burl 2/24, Tendai Chatara 1/20)
Ireland won by seven wickets
A brilliant unbroken sixth-wicket partnership of 88 between Milton Shumba and Ryan Burl took Zimbabwe to a fine score of 152 for five wickets in the second Twenty20 international against Ireland at Clontarf on Sunday.
The hosts however fought back to claim victory by seven wickets with nine balls to spare.
On an overcast day in Dublin, Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat first.
Tadiwanashe Marumani turned the second ball of the innings, from Craig Young, to the fine-leg boundary for four, and 16 runs came off the first two overs in an excellent start with Wessly Madhevere.
Madhevere, who made 21 off 18 balls, did most of the scoring, but after five overs he skyed an attempted pull to the keeper off Shane Getkate with the total on 36.
Regis Chakabva came in, but unfortunately in the next over Marumani was run out for 11 going for a risky second run.
When Dion Myers was then bowled by Getkate for one, Zimbabwe were 41 for three in the seventh over.
This brought the experienced players Chakabva and Craig Ervine together, and the partnership appeared to be blooming with runs off almost every ball when Ervine (15) was trapped lbw trying to sweep a ball from Ben White; 64 for four in the 10th over.
In the following over, Getkate struck again, as Chakabva was brilliantly caught at extra cover off his bowling for 10 – at 64 for five, Zimbabwe were now in considerable trouble.
Shumba and Burl were together now and for two overs they played themselves in with care, before Burl suddenly leapt down the pitch and hit Getkate for a huge straight six.
They then began to build a valuable stand, Burl hitting White and then Shumba smacking Young for two more big sixes that both went out of the ground over midwicket, the first of them bringing up the 100 in the 16th over.
In the penultimate over, Shumba swept a ball from Young for a remarkable six over long leg, and a four over extra cover next ball.
They finished the innings without further loss, a total of 152 for five wickets and a partnership of 88 in just under 10 overs.
Burl scored 37 off 33 balls, with two sixes and three fours, while Shumba was even more spectacular with a 27-ball 46 that included two sixes and four fours.
Of the Irish bowlers, Getkate turned in the fine figures of three for 20 in his four overs, while Simi Singh took no wickets but bowled his four overs for only 19 runs.
Ireland opened their batting with Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien against the bowling of Richard Ngarava and Wellington Masakadza, 26 runs coming off the first three overs.
Most of the runs came from Stirling, who was in fine form and hit Luke Jongwe for six over midwicket when the bowling was quickly changed.
The fifty came up without loss in the sixth over, and things were beginning to look worrying for Zimbabwe.
Burl finally broke the partnership at 62 in the seventh over, having Stirling caught at the wicket immediately after pulling him for six – he had scored 37 off 29 balls and given his team a superb start.
The Irish captain, Andy Balbirnie, began by looking for singles with O’Brien, but when he had scored five he played a ball from Burl on to his stumps; 77 for two.
O’Brien brought up his fifty off 33 balls with a six off Masakadza, and reached 60 off 41 balls, with seven fours and a six, when in the 16th over he drove a catch off Tendai Chatara to mid-off.
Ireland were now 129 for three, but the match was almost won, with 24 runs needed off 26 balls.
The batsmen, George Dockrell and Harry Tector, kept their cool and concentrated on singles, until Ngarava came on to bowl the 19th over.
Dockrell hammered fours off each of his first three deliveries, and Ireland were home to a fine victory by seven wickets.
Dockrell finished with 33 and Tector five.
All of the Zimbabwe bowlers suffered punishment, but Burl with two wickets for 24 in his four overs was the most successful.