Ireland tour of Zimbabwe, 2023 - Series Digest

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Campher picked up a four-wicket haul for Ireland. (File photo)
Campher picked up a four-wicket haul for Ireland. (File photo) © AFP
December 17 - 3rd ODI

Hume, Campher set up dominant Ireland win

Ireland completed the double over Zimbabwe after putting in a clinical show in the final ODI to seal the series 2-0. Ireland, who had taken a 1-0 lead already, started off with the ball in fine fashion as Graham Hume struck early. Joylord Gumbie held firm for Zimbabwe at one end but apart from Sikandar Raza, no one gave the opener support as Ireland kept striking at regular intervals.

The game was reduced to 40 overs per side and Zimbabwe needed impetus at the death to post a challenging total. However, the well-set Gumbie fell for a 106-ball 72 with almost six overs left in the innings as Zimbabwe finished with only 197. Hume and Curtis Campher starred with the ball by picking four wickets apiece.

Paul Stirling's early departure was the only bright spot for the home side with the ball as Andrew Balbirnie and Campher played some brilliant strokes in a 70-run stand, There was no way back for Zimbabwe even after they got rid of Campher as Harry Tector and Lorcan Tucker came up with key contributions alongside the unbeaten Balbirnie to seal the deal for the Irish.

Brief scores: Zimbabwe 197 in 40 overs (Joylord Gumbie 72, Sikandar Raza 37; Graham Hume 4/34, Curtis Campher 4/37) lost to Ireland 204/3 in 37.5 overs (Andrew Balbirnie 82*, Curtis Campher 40; Brandon Mavuta 1/19) by 7 wickets

December 15 - 2nd ODI

Little stars with six-for as Ireland take the lead

After missing out in the first ODI despite being in a dominant position due to incessant rain, Ireland beat Zimbabwe in the second of three ODIs at the Harare Sports Club by four wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series.

After losing the toss and being asked to bowl, Ireland's Joshua Little ripped through the top order, picking up four wickets with the total score at just 19 runs, including the wicket of captain and batting talisman, Sikandar Raza. A 45-run stand between Ryan Burl and Clive Madande was broken by Andy McBrine, before a 63-run stand between Burl and Wellington Masakadza got Zimbabwe past hundred. However, Little returned to pick up two more wickets, as Zimbabwe rolled over for 166 in 42.5 overs.

Ireland's chase got off to a terrible start, as they lost Andrew Balbirnie to Richard Ngarava's very first ball, as the Zimbabwean knocked over the stumps. Paul stirling was the next to go wiht the score at 29, but Curtis Campher's stable fifty allowed the middle order to bat around him, and despite regular wickets, a helpful unbeaten 25 from Mark Adair took Ireland home with 4 wickets and 59 balls to spare. Zimbabwe now face the task of levelling the series in the 3rd ODI on Sunday (December 17).

Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 166 all-outin 42.5 overs (Wellington Masakadza 40, Joshua Little 6-36)lost to Ireland 170-6in 40.1 overs (Curtis Campher 66, Blessing Muzarabani 2-23)by 4 wickets

December 13 - 1st ODI

Rain saves Zimbabwe's faltering batting line-up

Rain saved the day for Zimbabwe as their batting line-up faltered against a canny Irish attack, leaving them teetering at 121-6 before persistent rain in Harare saved the day for the hosts. After a steady start, Mark Adair got rid of Tinashe Kamunhukamwe.

Innocent Kaia and Sikandar Raza departed after starts, but Raza's wicket triggered a mini-collapse from 79-2 to 81-5 as Craig Young struck twice after Raza's wicket. Clive Mandande departed after a stand of 40 with Brandon Mavuta, before being knocked over by Hume, but the rain that arrived then, never really ceased as Zimbabwe escaped with a no-result.

Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 121-6in 25.3 overs (Brandon Mavuta 28*, Graham Hume 2-7)vs Ireland

Dec 10 - 3rd T20I

Tector, Dockrell seal series win for Ireland

Ireland secured their first ever series victory in Zimbabwe with a six-wicket win in the third T20I in Harare. The three-match rubber finished 2-1 in the favour of the visitors.

The victory was largely down to an unbeaten 104-run partnership for the fifth wicket between Harry Tector and George Dockrell. Tottering at 37/4 while chasing a target of 141, Tector (54*) and Dockrell (49*) masterfully got Ireland over the line with eight balls left.

Tector was named the Player of the Series for his 136 runs across three matches. Dockrell though, was named Player of the Match for his belligerent 32-ball knock.

Ireland had earlier won the toss and opted to bowl, and had early success with the wicket of Tinashe Kamunhukamwe in the second over. But Brian Bennett (27 off 19 balls) and Wessley Madhevere added 37 runs for the second wicket, with stand-in captain Ryan Burl (36 off 28) and Clive Madande (27 off 27) chipping in with important runs later to put 140/6 on the board. Joshua Little, Gareth Delany and Craig Young picked two apiece.

Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 140/6 (Burl 36; Delany 2-8, Little 2-21, Young 2-27) lost to Ireland 141/4 in 18.4 overs (Tector 54*, Dockrell 49*; B Mavuta 1-17) by 6 wickets

Dec 9 - 2nd T20I

Ireland level series in final-over finish

Ireland forced a series decider in the three-match series against Zimbabwe with a thrilling last-over win in Harare on Saturday. Harry Tector (48) and Curtis Campher (37) starred with the bat in the chase after the hosts were restricted to 165/5 from their 20 overs.

Put in to bat, the home side suffered early losses, slipping to 18/3 by the end of the third over as Mark Adair struck twice in his opening spell. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe counterattacked, hitting three sixes and as many fours in his 27-ball 39 that brought the innings back on track, along side skipper Sean Williams. After losing both in quick succession, Zimbabwe were propped up once again through the unbroken 87-run stand between Ryan Burl (38* off 33) and Clive Madande (44* off 39) that helped them to a competitive 165/5 eventually.

Ireland stayed on track with contributions coming from everyone, but wickets at regular intervals did peg them back in the first half. The visitors were down to 54/3 halfway through the eighth over. Tector and Campher came together then for a 66-run stand, in just seven overs, that revived the chase. Tector top-scored with his 38 ball, that included five boundaries, while Campher hit four of them.

Losing both the set batters in quick succession had Ireland worried once again but George Dockrell's unbeaten cameo of 16 ensured they held their nerve to pick up the win with just two balls to spare. The third and final T20I will be played at the same venue on Sunday (December 10).

Brief scores: Zimbabwe 165/5 in 20 overs (Clive Madande 44*, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe 39, Ryan Burl 38*; Mark Adair 2-28) lost to Ireland 166/6 in 19.4 overs (Harry Tector 48, Curtis Campher 37; Richard Ngarava 2-33) by 4 wickets

Dec 7 - 1st T20I

Zimbabwe seal last-ball thriller in historic game

Zimbabwe pulled off a thrilling 1-wicket win over Ireland in the opening T20I at the Harare Sports Club. Putting aside the disappointment of not making it to next year's T20 World Cup, Zimbabwe marked the occasion (the first ever international fixture to be played under lights in Zimbabwe) with a final-over thriller.

Batting first, Ireland got off to a great start and raced to 44/0 in just 4.2 overs before skipper Paul Stirling was trapped leg-before-wicket. Andy Balbirnie, who had already slammed six fours and a six in his 32, was the next to depart as Sikandar Raza castled him to apply brakes on the scoring rate. Raza also bagged the key wickets of Harry Tector and Curtis Campher as the Ireland innings was in a disarray. At one stage, they were reeling at 116/8 before Gareth Delany chipped in with a vital unbeaten 26 off just 11 balls to guide Ireland to a fighting 147/8.

Raza was once again the star of the show with the bat as well after Barry McCarthy and Joshua Little left Zimbabwe struggling at 21/2. Raza and Wessly Madhevere then steadied the ship for a fair bit before the former fell for 25. While Ireland kept making inroads at one end to stay in the contest, Raza was at his best smashing yet another half-century for Zimbabwe. Needing 11 from 10, Zimbabwe were the favourites to get the job done with Raza still present in the crease but his wicket tilted the scales in favour of Ireland again as the hosts needed 9 from the last six balls. It came down to 6 off 3 when Richard Ngarava hammered a boundary, much to the delight of the home crowd. Mark Adair then pulled off a terrific catch off the penultimate ball to keep his side in the hunt but an inside edge and a fumble by the keeper was enough for Zimbabwe to get those two runs off the final ball.

Brief scores: Ireland 147/8 in 20 overs (Andy Balbirnie 32, Gareth Delany 26*; Sikandar Raza 3/28, Richard Ngarava 2/23) lost to Zimbabwe 148/9 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 65; Joshua Little 2/17) by 1 wicket




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