After a thrilling day of cricket in Harare, the first match of the One Day International series between Zimbabwe vs Ireland came down to the last ball.
Zimbabwe vs Ireland, down at the last Ball
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Ireland produced a first-innings total of 288/4 thanks to centuries from skipper Andy Balbirnie and Harry Tector, with a weather delay reducing the number of overs in the chase to 37. The momentum shifted back and forth during the second inning, with six hitters reaching double digits but only Ryan Burl surpassing the half-century mark with a ferocious 59 from 41 pitches. Burl was run out in the last over, but he had previously contributed to Zimbabwe scoring 23 runs off the last eight balls of the innings to win at the last.
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Zimbabwe needed a boundary off the last ball to win, and Clive Madande delivered, sparking ecstatic celebrations in Harare. Earlier, Zimbabwe’s Victor Nyauchi had bowled opener Stephen Doheny in his first over, and Paul Stirling had also fallen quickly, leaving Ireland with both of their openers out and just 25 runs on the board. Captain Andy Balbirnie, on the other hand, steadied the ship with a brilliant 121 from 137 balls before being forced to withdraw hurt.
They put up 212 runs in a stunning third-wicket stand with Harry Tector, who went unbeaten on 101* off 109 balls. Because of the weather, Zimbabwe’s objective decreased from 288 to 214. Ireland, on the other hand, used Mark Adair, Josh Little, and Graham Hume to keep the host side under the needed pace and take wickets at regular intervals. After an incredibly sluggish start to the innings, Craig Ervine (38) and Gary Balance (23) lifted up the tempo marginally.
Lower down the line, though, Zimbabwe needs some offensive intent. With a sparky 43 from 45 balls, their returning T20 World Cup hero Sikandar Raza offered some of that purpose, but it was Burl who shone out, striking eight boundaries in his 58 from 41 to give Zimbabwe a chance as the game neared its conclusion. Brad Evans’ six and out in the last over left Zimbabwe requiring five from two to win, but replacement batter Willington Masakadza only got a single off the penultimate ball.
Madande has battled with fluidity, not being able to locate the ropes in his eight-balls face. But, when faced with the prospect of requiring a boundary to win the match, he delivered, ending on 12* from 9 balls to lead Zimbabwe to 214/7 and a dramatic victory. The series’ second match will be played at the same venue on Saturday, with the series’ third and final match slated for Monday, again in Harare. Every game in the series is broadcast live and for free on ICC.tv in ALL areas (other than India).