Zimbabwe go down as Ireland secure T20I series victory
Ireland – 174-4 in 20 overs (Kevin O’Brien 47, Paul Stirling 39, Andy Balbirnie 36; Wellington Masakadza 2/22, Richard Ngarava 1/25, Luke Jongwe 1/28)
Zimbabwe – 110-9 in 20 overs (Craig Ervine 28, Luke Jongwe 24*, Richard Ngarava 11*; Mark Adair 4/23, Shane Getkate 2/19, Simi Singh 1/18)
Ireland won by 64 runs
Zimbabwe went down to Ireland by 64 runs in the fourth T20I at Bready on Thursday.
The tourists again won the toss and again decided to bowl first.
They made two changes to their playing personnel, bringing in Blessing Muzarabani for Tendai Chatara, while Donald Tiripano was a last-minute replacement for Ryan Burl who sprained his ankle when he stepped on the rope during a warm-up routine.
Ireland’s regular opening pair of Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien were again in fine form, and after five overs the hosts had scored 44 without loss.
After 10 overs, Ireland were 89 for no wicket, but then with the first ball of the 11th, bowled by Wellington Masakadza, O’Brien was well caught low down by Milton Shumba at long-off for 47.
He faced 39 balls and hit a six and six fours.
The team 100 came up after 12 overs.
Andy Balbirnie played himself in for a few balls before opening out to hit Wessly Madhevere for 12 runs off three balls, but then Stirling went, skying a catch to extra cover off Masakadza.
He scored 39 off 33 balls, with four fours, and the score was 114 for two wickets in the 14th over.
Balbirnie and Shane Getkate then accelerated the scoring rate even further, the latter making 12 off nine balls before he miscued a pull off Jongwe and was caught by Madhevere at deep midwicket; 144 for three in the 17th over.
In the following over, Madhevere took another good catch, this time at deep point, as Balbirnie failed to clear the boundary with a ramp off Ngarava.
He had scored 36 off only 22 balls, with four fours and a six, and the score was now 147 for four in the 18th over.
William McClintock (15 not out) and George Dockrell (14 not out) used up the rest of the 20 overs, putting on 27 together, and Dockrell hit the penultimate ball, bowled by Jongwe, for a big six over long-on.
Ireland finished with 174 for four wickets.
The most successful bowler was Masakadza, who took two for 22 off his four overs, while Ngarava and Jongwe took a wicket each.
Zimbabwe opened their batting as usual with Madhevere and Tadiwanashe Marumani.
They lost Marumani (4) in the second over, hitting a return catch to the bowler Mark Adair, leaving them at seven for one.
Regis Chakabva came in and quickly hit two cracking fours, only to be given out unexpectedly caught down the leg side off Adair for 11; 21 for two.
Dion Myers got a four off the inside edge from the first ball he faced, from Adair, only to be bowled by a yorker next ball, reducing Zimbabwe to 25 for three in the fourth over.
After five overs, the score was 30 for three wickets, which immediately became four, as the next delivery, from Craig Young, Madhevere (6) miscued a pull and lobbed a catch to mid-on.
Craig Ervine seemed to have settled in well, but on the other end Milton Shumba was bowled by Barry McCarthy for six in the ninth over; 48 for five.
Donald Tiripano stayed for a partnership of 20 runs – the highest of the innings so far – with Ervine before he was stumped by Neil Rock off Getkate for five; 68 for six in the 13th over.
Zimbabwe’s hopes of making a decent fight suffered a huge blow when in the following over, from Simi Singh, Ervine drove a catch to long-on after scoring 28 off 30 balls; 72 for seven.
In the following over, Masakadza was given out lbw to Getkate for four, but Jongwe and Muzarabani put on 11 to take the team past Zimbabwe’s lowest-ever T20I score – 84 against New Zealand at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in West Indies in 2010 – before Adair returned to bowl Muzarabani for two; 86 for nine.
Ironically, the highest partnership of the innings was for the last wicket, as Jongwe, who fought well for 24 not out, and Ngarava, 11 not out, put on 24 together to take the final score to 110 for nine wickets.
Adair was the man who did the most damage, with four wickets for 23 runs, while Getkate took two and three other bowlers one each.