Tough day for Zimbabwe Women as tourists take series lead
Zimbabwe Women – 178 all out in 47 overs (Mary-Anne Musonda 26, Modester Mupachikwa 23, Precious Marange 20; Celeste Raack 3/34, Leah Paul 2/24, Cara Murray 2/42)
Ireland Women – 179-2 in 39 overs (Gaby Lewis 96*, Leah Paul 63, Amy Hunter 4; Tasmeen Granger 2/53)
Ireland Women won by eight wickets
There was little comfort for Zimbabwe Women as they fell to Ireland Women by eight wickets in the third one-day international at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
The hosts again won the toss, but this time decided to bat first, with the debutants Tasmeen Granger, Audrey Mazvishaya and Nyasha Gwanzura coming in for Pellagia Mujaji, Nomvelo Sibanda and Loryn Phiri.
Chiedza Dhururu and Modester Mupachikwa opened the batting again, and concentrated on building a sound platform for the innings, playing a steady game to put on 39 together.
In the 14th over, however, the leg-spinner Cara Murray struck by having Dhururu caught at the wicket for 16, and in her next over had Mupachikwa caught for 23, making it two wickets down for 45 runs.
Mary-Anne Musonda now joined Ashley Ndiraya at the crease and decided to take charge, hitting the first ball she faced for four and then hitting Murray out of the attack with 14 runs off one over, including three fours.
However, Laura Delany then came on and with her third ball she bowled out Musonda for her aggressive innings of 26, scored off 22 balls with five fours.
In the following over Ndiraya was trapped lbw by Leah Paul for seven, and four wickets were now down for 78 in the 22nd over.
The situation worsened when Josephine Nkomo, the heroine of Thursday’s match, was caught and bowled by Paul for three, and the score was now 81 for five in the 24th over.
Loreen Tshuma joined Precious Marange, and by positive play they added 34 together before she was caught at the wicket off Celeste Raake for seven, making the score 115 for six after 29 overs.
Marange fought hard for 20 until she was caught off Raack; 126 for seven.
Gwanzura batted positively and well to score 18 before she was bowled by Raack at 147 for eight wickets.
Granger was run out for 20, while the last-wicket pair of Audrey Mazvishaya and Esther Mbofana took the score to 178 before Mazvishaya was bowled by Jane Maguire for eight after 47 overs, leaving Mbofana not out with eight.
Raack with three for 34 was the most successful bowler, while there were two wickets each for Murray and Paul, whose 10 overs cost only 24 runs.
A target of 179 did not put Ireland Women under great pressure, and the opening batters, Paul and Gaby Lewis, could afford to play themselves in and bat steadily, which is what they did.
None of the bowlers could break through as the pair brought up the team fifty in the 14th over, and then showed more fluency to reach three figures in the 22nd.
By this time Lewis had reached her fifty off 73 balls, and Paul, who had less of the strike, soon followed, taking 68 deliveries for her half-century.
The first wicket finally came when the match was as good as over, with the score at 145 in the 31st over, as Granger had Paul caught at the wicket for 63, scored off 83 balls.
Two overs later Granger struck again, as she had the newcomer, Amy Hunter, caught for four, to make the score 161 for two wickets.
Lewis was at this stage on 82, and there was not quite time for her to achieve what would have been a well-deserved century.
With one run left for victory she was on 95 and needing to hit a six to achieve the feat, but she settled for a single, while her new partner Orla Prendergast had scored three.
The Zimbabwe Women bowling had generally been tidy but not threatening, with Nkomo the most economical, bowling six overs for just 21 runs.
The only bowler to take wickets was Granger, whose 10 overs for two wickets were expensive, though, yielding 53 runs.
Ireland Women now lead the four-match series by two victories to one, and Zimbabwe Women clearly have much work to do if they are to save the series in the final match on Monday.