Lagging behind 1-0 in the three-match ODI series, Ireland need a win in the second match to keep the hope of a series win alive.
Zimbabwe were relentless in their efforts to turn the first ODI in their favour. The resistance was led by the bowlers who countered Ireland’s steady start by sparking an implosion. Blessing Muzarabani’s four-wicket haul contributed to the hosts bundling out on 228 after being 187/3 at one stage.
A similar performance can be expected from the visitors on Friday.
Ireland’s batting found support from the top order but the middle order failed to capitalise on the start with the energy missing in the field from ball one.
As Ireland sits at the 8th position in the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League standings, they would continue to want to galvanise more points as a long road lies ahead.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe are currently positioned at the bottom of the table with two wins in seven matches.
After having asked Zimbabwe to bat first, Ireland struck at the beginning to send back Regis Chakabva in the fifth over.
However, Brendan Taylor (49) and Craig Ervine (64) regrouped to put together a 71-run stand, strengthening Zimbabwe’s position.
Although wickets fell at regular intervals, the visitors were boosted by important contributions from their experienced batters. Sean Williams (33) and Sikandar Raza (59*) did well to maintain a consistent scoring rate. Wesley Madhevere and Luke Jongwe added a few handy runs at the end to help Zimbabwe post 266/7.
In reply, Ireland got off to a good start, openers William Porterfield and Paul Stirling stitching a valuable half-century opening stand. After the dismissals of Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie, Porterfield shared another half-century stand with Harry Tector.
Zimbabwe hit back in the middle overs, picking up wickets and strangling the scoring rate. With wickets falling at regular intervals, Ireland failed to recover.
They lost their last seven batsmen for 41 runs and were bowled out for 228, giving Zimbabwe a 38-run victory.
What they said:
Andrew Balbirnie (Ireland captain): “We perhaps didn’t start as well with the ball as we would have liked, but we pulled it back nicely. Our fielding and energy was off, which is disappointing and something that has to change before Friday.”
Craig Ervine (Zimbabwe captain): “At the beginning, we thought 250 would be a really good score, the wicket did get slightly better in the afternoon. The bowlers stuck to their plans really well.” — icc.