Mark Adair's career-best puts icing on the cake after Irish batters dominate in fourth T20I against Zimbabwe
Mark Adair's career-best puts icing on the cake after Irish batters dominate in fourth T20I against Zimbabwe.
Ireland 174/4 (20 ov)
Zimbabwe 110/9 (20 ov)
Ireland won by 64 runs.
Another stellar showing from Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling laid the platform for a match-winning total in the fourth T20I over Zimbabwe, with Ireland’s seamers combining to seal an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series with one game to play.
O’Brien and Stirling have both been in excellent form this series, with the former notching a half-century in Ireland’s series-levelling win in the second T20I, and the latter making his maiden T20I century in the third match. This time it was a joint effort that did the damage, an 89-run stand setting the tone for a dominant performance in all departments by Ireland.
Today it was O’Brien who took the attack to Zimbabwe, with Stirling happy to play the foil. The senior man got off the mark with a four, flicking Blessing Muzarabani, playing his first game of the series, off his pads, and also hit the first six of the game, cries of ‘shot’ ringing out from the dugout as Donald Tiripano was launched over long-off. Stirling wasn’t exactly becalmed, punching RIchard Ngarava for a trio of boundaries, but it was O’Brien who ended the powerplay with a flourish, crashing Muzarabani for three fours in a row and giving Ireland 57-0 after six overs.
A boundary in each of the next four overs ensured Ireland ticked over, and when the partnership was finally broken, O’Brien holing out to long-off from the first ball of the second half of the innings, Andrew Balbirnie carried on the momentum. While he and Stirling consolidated through the next two overs, a sweep and then a slog-sweep for four and six off Wessley Madhevere got Ireland going again, the skipper racing to 17 off eight balls.
A top-edge from Stirling was caught by Craig Ervine at mid-off, but Ireland were ready to launch. Shane Getkate deposited his third ball for six and Balbirnie hit consecutive fours, and with five overs to go, Ireland were 134-2, and eyeing up a huge score.
Zimbabwe, hampered by an injury to Ryan Burl, one of their star performers this series, in the warm-up, fought back gamely, ensuring that Ireland fell four runs short of their total in the third T20I, having looked set for plenty more. Overs 16-18 cost just 18 runs and contained the wickets of both Getkate and Balbirnie, before some fast running and fast hands from William McClintock, playing his first innings for Ireland, and George Dockrell, who crashed the penultimate ball of the innings for six, ensured momentum was with the hosts heading into the interval.
Mark Adair was the star with the ball. In the third game of the series he struck with his second ball of the game, and he went one better here, enticing Tadiwanashe Marumani to offer a return catch with his first ball before striking twice in his second over, each time bouncing back after being hit for a boundary the previous delivery. The dismissal of Dion Myers, stumps splayed by a leg-stump yorker, demonstrated Adair’s skill and form.
Craig Young returned to reduce Zimbabwe to four down inside the powerplay, Madhevere chipping tamely to mid-on, and Ireland never let the advantage slip.
There was a proud moment for Neil Rock, who showed good hands and even better awareness, noticing Tiripano overbalancing to claim a sharp stumping, his first in international cricket, off Shane Getkate, who struck again to remove Wellington Masakadza lbw.
Between those dismissals came the wicket which effectively decided the game. Craig Ervine battled hard for his 28, but when he picked out long on off Simi Singh, there was little left to come. Adair clean bowled Muzarabani to seal his career-best figures in the format, and the Player of the Match award, and though some lusty last-wicket hitting massaged the margin somewhat, the victory, by 64 runs, was still Ireland’s biggest against a Full Member in T20Is.
The two sides meet again at the same venue on Saturday at 3pm for the fifth and final match of the series, with Ireland leading 3-1.
Fall of wickets:
Fall of wickets:
ZIMBABWE: 1-7 (Tadiwanashe Marumani - 1.1 ov), 2-21 (Regis Chakabva - 3.2 ov), 3-25 (Dion Myers - 3.4 ov), 4-30 (Wesley Madhevere - 5.1 ov), 5-48 (Milton Shumba - 8.5 ov), 6-68 (Donald Tiripano - 12.5 ov), 7-72 (Craig Ervine - 13.4 ov), 8-75 (Wellington Masakadza - 14.4 ov), 9-86 (Blessing Muzarabani - 17.2 ov)
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