BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
ZIMBABWE national women’s cricket team vice-captain Josephine Nkomo scored her maiden one-day international (ODI) half century, but her individual effort was in vain as Ireland won the second ODI by 80 runs at Harare Sports Club yesterday to level the four-match series.
Nkomo scored an unbeaten 70 off 86 deliveries in only her second ODI as the hosts were restricted to 206 for eight in response to Ireland’s total of 286 seven in their allotted 50 overs.
The Lady Chevrons went into the second match with their confidence high after captain Mary-Anne Musonda’s century inspired them to a historic win in their maiden ODI encounter on Tuesday.
For the second successive match, Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field, but unlike the first match, they did not get any early breakthroughs which allowed Ireland to reach their second highest score in ODI cricket.
A 135-run opening partnership stand between Leah Paul and Gaby Lewis ensured Ireland set a formidable target which the hosts never came close to reaching.
Paul top-scored with 95 off 118 balls in an innings which included eight boundaries.
Although she was unlucky not to reach her maiden ODI century, by the time she was dismissed by Precious Marange in the 41st over, she had already laid a solid foundation for tourists with the score on 219 runs.
The 22-year-old left hander was well supported by Lewis who was the more aggressive of the opening pair with her knock of 65 coming off 77 deliveries.
Zimbabwe got off to a slow start, with the opening pair of Chiedza Dhururu and Modester Mupachikwa scoring only 21 runs in the opening 10 overs before they were dismissed in consecutive overs.
Skipper Musonda, who was the hero in the first match, managed just four runs as Ireland’s spinners kept the batsman under a tight leash, resulting in Zimbabwe losing their next six wickets for 81 runs.
However, Nkomo ensured that the hosts lost with some dignity, with him sharing a ninth-wicket partnership stand of 69 runs with Nomvelo Sibanda.
The two teams meet in the third ODI at the same venue tomorrow.
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