Zimbabwe Tour of Ireland — The Chevrons Bite The Dust In T20 Series, Despite Winning The Last Match by 5 Runs

By Ashley Dube

Zimbabwe’s batting ultimately let them down as they fell 3-2 to Ireland in the five-match T20I series that concluded three days ago. The Chevrons had registered a remarkable yet scrappy victory in the 1st T20I, winning by 3 runs – a result much credited to the bowling heroics of left-arm seamer Richard Ngarava. All matches were played at the Bready Cricket Club in Bready, Northern Ireland.

Zimbabwe Tour of Ireland Results and fixtures, AIDEN and Stirling
Pic - Zimbabwe Cricket on Twitter

After losing the first match, the Men In Green bounced back to claim the series with three consecutive victories over the Chevrons. Having lost the series already, but without losing their zeal (the series has shown Zimbabwe’s bowling is seemingly stronger than the batting), Zimbabwe won the final match by a narrow 5 runs.

In the third match, opening batsman Paul Stirling was a thorn in the flesh for Zimbabwe with his outstanding batting displays as manifested by his maiden century where he finished unbeaten on 115. It was a classy innings which comprised of eight fours and the same number of maximums as the Zimbabwean bowlers spiritedly toiled with little joy, only mustering two wickets. In response, the Chevrons fell short as they were bundled out for 138 although skipper Craig Ervine top scored for the visitors with a quick-fire 33. Paul Stirling was named Player of the Match. 

Zimbabwe’s batting performance continued to be abysmal in the 4th T20I (110-9) as right-arm fast bowler Mark Adair was unplayable, finishing with figures of 4-23 and as such they wobbled to a 64 run defeat. Ireland batted first and they put on a solid 174-4 with the opening trio of Stirling, O’Brien, and skipper Balbirne all getting starts and laying the foundation for an impressive total. Mark Adair was named Player of the Match. 

On the overall, the Chevrons’ batting in particular was appalling as only Craig Ervine managed to score over 50 runs across the five matches. Zimbabwe Cricket’s (ZC) decision for youth-over-experience seemed to have backfired massively.

The trio of Tadiwanashe Marumani, Wessly Madhevere and Milton Shumba (all batsmen) struggled in alien conditions as they failed to make an impressionable mark on the tour. Milton Shumba was the only batsman who managed to put in a respectable total with an entertaining 46 anchored Zimbabwe’s total of 152.

In the final match, Marumani was replaced by Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, who was dismissed for a duck by Mark Adair.

Craig Ervine scored an unbeaten 67 in the last match as Zimbabwe managed to defend a relatively low T20I total (124-4), winning by 5 runs. Dion Myers scored 26, while Milton Shumba garnered 14 runs. Madhevere (who opened with Kamunhukamwe) scored 9 runs before he fell to Joshua Little’s delivery.

Richard Ngarava replicated his performance from the first match, as he defended 9 runs and effected a run-out of the last ball. As such, Zimbabwe concluded the series on a winning note; a positive for the fans.  

Donald Tiripano’s figures (3-31) as well as those of Luke Jongwe (3-29) were also vital for the Chevrons in the final match. The Player of the Match in the 5th T20I was Craig Ervine. Ireland’s Paul Stirling was named the Player of the Series.

Next up is the ODI series commencing on Wednesday the 8th of September 2021. And Zimbabwe hope to make significant gains from the ODI series for their redemption.

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