Ireland beat Zimbabwe by 4 wickets in 1st ODI
Ireland won the toss and decided to bowl against Zimbabwe in the 1st ODI at Bready, Derry today.
Ireland 258 - 6 (Andrew Balbirnie 101, Paul Stirling 57; Tendai Chatara 3-36)
Zimbabwe 254 - 9 (Craig Ervine 105, Ryan Burl 49; Mark Adair 4-73)
Result - Ireland win by 4 wickets
Full Match Report
A century to Andrew Balbirnie, wickets and runs to Mark Adair and a fifth successive ODI half-century to Paul Stirling saw Ireland defeat Zimbabwe today at Bready Cricket Club today.
Early morning showers meant a delayed start to play, but after William Porterfield won the toss and sent Zimbabwe in on a green-tinged pitch, Ireland’s bowlers looked to put the Zimbabweans on the back foot from the beginning of the series.
Mark Adair with his first ball, removing opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe’s middle stump. He then followed up shortly after removing Zimbabwe skipper Hamilton Masakadza for 15, leaving the visitors at 20-2 in the sixth over.
Craig Ervine, the 33-year year old left-hander then looked to take control – dispatching balls to all corners of the ground without looking to take many risks. He built stabilising partnerships with Brendan Taylor (12) and Sean Williams (28), before broadening his shoulders and powering through to his third ODI century for Zimbabwe.
As good as Ervine’s innings was, when he eventually departed for 105 from 117 balls, the visiting side were on a precarious 210-7 in the 45th over.
Step up Ryan Burl – the 25-year old middle-order batter with an ODI average of just 14.00 decided to finish with a powerful flourish. His first 10 runs came off 24 balls, but with the loss of Ervine he proceeded to smash four sixes and three fours, ending on 49* off 42 balls – scoring 39 runs off his last 18 balls.
Zimbabwe’s final total of 254-9 looked highly competitive, and would require some dedicated batting by the home side to overhaul.
For Ireland, Adair finished with his first four-wicket haul in ODIs (4-73) – having suffered the brunt of Burl’s late hitting – and fellow Northern Knights all-rounder Getkate, making his ODI debut, claimed 2-33. Lorcan Tucker also claimed his first two dismissals for Ireland in ODI cricket.
The Ireland response began in a measured manner. After the loss of James McCollum (21), Paul Stirling and Andrew Balbirnie came together to put on a 105-run stand. The control they displayed ensured Ireland stayed well in the run chase without so much as a mis-shot to be seen.
Stirling was in imperious form, striking the ball cleanly and registering his fifth consecutive ODI fifty – an Irish record.
With the score on 133-1, Stirling (57) uncharacteristically played at a chest-high ball and feathered it through to the keeper. A further two wickets fell, and after being in cruise control, Ireland found themselves wavering on 150-4 in the 33rd over.
It was then that 22-year old wicketkeeper-batsman Lorcan Tucker came to the crease and with Balbirnie the pair put on 64 for the fifth wicket, at first consolidating and the accelerating the scoring. But then, to seemingly add some late drama, Tucker (23) fell hooking with the score on 214, and the Balbirnie put the jitters in the home crowd by running himself out after just bringing up his well-deserved fifth ODI century.
With 26 needed from 28 balls, Ireland suddenly had two new batsmen at the crease – Adair and Getkate. After a few wayward shots, the pair then knuckled down and powered Ireland home to victory with nine balls to spare. Getkate finished on 16* from 13 balls, and Adair 21* from 13 balls.
Andy Balbirnie said after the game:
“It was enjoyable, a win is always that way. Paul [Stirling] and I batted well together, I think we really complement each other well – he strikes the ball so cleanly, and early on I just tried to rotate the strike. It’s a shame he got out when he did as we lost a bit of the momentum. But the fight shown by the guys coming in at the end was great – especially Mark and Shane there to finish the job off. Mark particularly was very impressive, he hits the ball as clean as anyone, and I thought he was exceptional today with the ball as well. He’s settling well into the squad and he gives us a bit of that X-factor as well.”
“Zimbabwe is a good team but I thought the Zimbabwe score was about par or a bit below, as the outfield was very quick and it was as good a wicket as I’ve played on here. I think looking ahead we can learn from last series against Afghanistan when we went one up and then we didn’t perform in the second. We’ll be desperate to train well and put in another good performance in the next ODI.”
“Today was a good day for us and a good day for the whole set-up.”
The two sides will meet for the second of three ODIs on Thursday at Stormont in Belfast. Match scheduled to begin at 10.45am. Tickets available at the gate or online via Ticketmaster.
Ireland - Paul Stirling, William Porterfield(c), Andrew Balbirnie, James McCollum, Kevin O'Brien, Lorcan Tucker(wk), Shane Getkate, Mark Adair, Andy McBrine, Tim Murtagh, Boyd Rankin
Zimbabwe - Hamilton Masakadza(c), Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Brendan Taylor(wk), Sean Williams, Peter Moor, Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara
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