Zimbabwe cruised to an eight-wicket victory in the final T20 International despite Ireland setting a highly competitive target at Bready on Sunday(14th July).
Ireland had a rocky start to the day with Andrew Balbirnie being forced to withdraw from the match due to a sore back. Then, after losing the toss and being sent in to bat, the home side lost in-form opener Paul Stirling first ball of the innings.
Despite these early setbacks, Ireland’s batters compiled a highly competitive total of 171-9 in their 20 overs, led by captain Gary Wilson – who top-scored with 47, an exciting 38 from 15 balls by the big-hitting Mark Adair, and good contributions by Greg Thompson (32) and Kevin O’Brien (22).
Ireland went into the innings break with their tails up, pleased that their batting side mounted such a total without relying on either Stirling or Balbirnie. However, despite the early wicket of Hamilton Masakadza (0) the visitors’ reply was rapid and almost without a blemish. The Zimbabweans mounted two big partnerships – 49 between Brendan Taylor and Craig Ervine, then an unbeaten 111-run stand between Ervine and Sean Williams – to see them home by eight wickets with 20 balls to spare.
Captain Gary Wilson said after the game:
“We were nowhere near where we needed to be today – we were just way off with our bowling and in the field. I think we’re very happy where our batting is, and we all felt at half-time that 171 was about par. The pitch was a bit slower than it was the other day, but we’re disappointed we weren’t able to defend that total – but some good lessons were learned.”
“I think Craig Young has been the stand out bowler over the two matches, it was good to see him bowling with good pace, and he has good bounce and landed his yorkers, so that’s a massive plus for us.”
Zimbabwe’s Craig Ervine was named Player of the Series
SCORECARD IN BRIEF
Ireland 171-9 : (20 overs; G Wilson 47, M Adair 38; K Jarvis 3-38)
Zimbabwe 172-2 : (16.4 overs; C Ervine 68*, S Williams 58*)
Zimbabwe won by 8 wickets