Recent Match Report – Zimbabwe vs Ireland 2nd ODI 2023/24

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Ireland 170 for 6 (Campher 66, Tucker 28, Muzarabani 2-23, Mavuta 2-37) beat Zimbabwe 166 (Masakadza 40, Burl 38, Little 6-36) by four wickets

Little blew away the Zimbabwe top-order with four wickets – including three in an over – reducing the hosts to 19 for 4. Ryan Burl, Clive Madande and Wellington Masakadza all held fort for a bit as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 166 in 42.5 overs with Little claiming 6 for 36 in 10 overs. In reply, Curtis Campher struck a 71-ball 66 as Ireland completed a win in 40.1 overs.

Sikandar Raza elected to bat under blue skies, but was in for a rude awakening. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe struck two fours off Mark Adair but failed to keep a Little short-of-a-length ball down pulling to George Dockrell who took a good catch diving forward. Two balls later Miton Shumba poked at an away-swinger only to offer Lorcan Tucker a simple catch behind the stumps. Little struck for the third time in the fourth over when Joylord Gumbie’s tough stay at the crease ended with him bottom-edging an in-decker back onto his stumps.

Zimbabwe were reduced to 16 for 3 after four overs and Little added to their miseries by taking out their captain Raza the next over, who also chopped a length ball onto his off stump.

Burl and Madande then staged a brief revival. The duo added 45 off 74 balls for the fifth wicket with Madande being the aggressor scoring a 42-ball 33. He did get a life on 5 when Harry Tector dropped a tough chance at backward point but grew in confidence. His innings was ended by Andy McBrine with deep midwicket moving excellently to his left.

Brandon Mavuta came and went as Zimbabwe were reduced to 70 for 6 in 22 overs. But Burl and Masakadza stemmed the collapse through a 63-run stand for the seventh wicket.

Masakadza came in and whacked Little for two fours before clobbering McBrine into the stands over deep midwicket. Burl, too, having been circumspect till then broke the shackles by depositing Graham Hume over mid-on.

Tector then broke the promising stand by taking out Burl before Little came back to complete his first five-wicket haul in ODIs by removing Masakadza and then cleaned up Ngarava for 1. Mark Adair closed out the Zimbabwe innings in the 43rd over. Burl, who was ruffled by a Little short-ball in the 10th over was concussed out of the game and replaced by Tony Munyonga in the second innings.

The surface was not a belter for batters and Andy Balbirnie found that out straightaway when he saw his off pole take a walk first ball courtesy of a Richard Ngarava away-swinger. Paul Stirling got off the mark with a crisp drive but Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabani kept things tight. Stirling was dropped by the keeper on 13 but failed to cash in, getting castled by Muzarabani soon after. Ireland could only manage 29 for 2 after the first powerplay with the two frontline seamers bowling unchanged.

The first-change bowler Tanaka Chivanga, however, failed to keep up the pressure. He leaked 15 runs off his first over with Campher taking him for three successive fours. Muzarabani then went four two fours in his next as Ireland kept chugging away.

Tector and Campher added 52 for the third wicket before the former was bowled by a peach of a legbreak by Mavuta. Campher, though made sure to keep going and found an ally in Lorcan Tucker.

The two pushed Ireland closer to the target when rain interrupted play with the visitors on 101 for 3 after 25, needing 66 off 25 overs. Campher hobbled off into the changeroom holding his side at the rain break but made it back into the middle once play resumed.

No overs were lost but Zimbabwe did strike a couple of blows to cause a few flutters in the Irish camp. Campher reached his fifty off 58 balls and then struck a couple of fours. But Mavuta soon had him clean bowled when he missed a sweep to a full-length ball. Muzarabani then saw the back of Tucker for 28 as he finished with excellent figures of 10-2-23-2.

Adair and Dockrell, however, kept their composure adding 34 for the sixth wicket. Dockrell fell when just a run was needed for victory before Adair closed the game with a ramp over the wicketkeeper’s head.

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