Craig Ervine hits hundred as Zimbabwe seal series against Ireland
Zimbabwe 270-5 (Ervine 101no) beat
Ireland 268-7 (Stirling 72) by five wickets
Second One-Day International in Harare
Craig Ervine hit a sublime unbeaten hundred while Sikandar Raza picked a three-wicket haul as Zimbabwe overhauled Ireland by five wickets in the second One-Day International in Harate to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.
Zimbabwe won the toss on a warm day and opted to field first. After a couple of tight overs, William Porterfield (8) got the innings up and running with a couple of boundaries.
Luke Jongwe (1-43) found the breakthrough as the Ireland captain edged one to the slips.
Paul Stirling (72) upped the ante with three boundaries off Jongwe in the 10th over. Ireland were 43 for one at this stage.
The pair of Stirling and Ed Joyce (17) managed to keep the scoreboard ticking at a decent pace. Stirling completed his fifty in 56 balls. The duo added 66 runs for the second wicket.
Raza (3-49) sent down an arm ball to adjudge Joyce plumb in front. Zimbabwe spilled two chances in the 24th over – one dropped by Richmond Mutumbami while Chamu Chibhabha (0-13) parried the ball over the ropes.
Raza struck once again with the big wicket of Stirling, trapping him lbw. Andy Balbirnie (12) was run out in an attempt to sneak a quick single.
By the 40th over, Ireland reached 202 for four. Niall O’Brien (50) completed his half-century in 60 deliveries. Gary Wilson (65) and Niall added 64 runs for the fifth wicket to bring the innings on track.
However, it was Raza was once again who provided the breakthrough, getting Niall to hole out to long off.
Tinashe Panyangara (1-40) got the wicket of Kevin O’Brien (5) in the 46th over, thanks to an athletic take by Raza, who continued to have a good outing.
Wilson brought up his fifty with a six over long on but was run out by Wellington Masakadza (0-50) in the 48th over.
Ireland were able to post 268 for seven in their quota of fifty overs. Raza was the leading wicket-taker for Zimbabwe with his three scalps, while Panyangara and Jongwe managed a wicket apiece.
The Zimbabwe openers survived a lbw appeal each in the first two overs of their chase. Chibhabha (30) and Mutumbami (14) batted at a good pace.
Tim Murtagh (1-47) got the breakthrough with the wicket of Mutumbami. Kevin (2-46) picked his 200th international wicket for Ireland when he dismissed Chibhabha by getting him to edge one to the keeper.
Zimbabwe reached 58 for two after 10 overs. Ervine (101 not out) and Sean Williams (43) batted sensibly to prevent further fall of wickets.
The duo kept the runs flowing and added 98 runs for the third wicket. Williams lost his wicket to Andy McBrine (1-38), as he top edged a simple catch to Joyce.
Ervine reached to his fifty in the 29th over, and it took him 58 balls to get there. By the end of the 30th over, Zimbabwe were ahead of the required rate with their total at 167 for three.
Ervine was handed a reprieve on 64 when Niall dropped a tough chance behind the stumps. Zimbabwe needed 67 runs from the last 10 overs.
Along with Raza (33), Ervine added 64 runs for the fifth wicket. When Raza was dismissed by John Mooney (1-48) in the 47th over, Zimbabwe required just 13 runs to win from 21 balls.
Ervine took his team past the victory line and completed his century at the same time by hitting a boundary straight down the ground ensuring a five-wicket victory to Zimbabwe.
Ervine was awarded the man of the match for his unbeaten match-winning century.
The third and the final ODI will be played on 13th October in Harare with the series poised 2-0 in favour of Zimbabwe.
© Cricket World 2015