Ireland secure T20 series victory in Zimbabwe with six-wicket win in Harare
By BBC Sport
A 104-run partnership between Harry Tector and George Dockrell helped Ireland clinch a 2-1 Twenty20 series victory over Zimbabwe in Harare.
Ryan Burl top-scored with 36 in the hosts’ comparatively modest 140-6 but Ireland looked in trouble in their reply as they slipped to 37-4.
However, Tector followed his crucial 48 in Saturday’s win with an unbeaten 54 as Ireland earned a six-wicket triumph.
Dockrell was also unbeaten on 49 as Ireland won with eight balls to spare.
Ireland captain Paul Stirling’s struggles with the bat in the series continued as he contributed only six before being trapped lbw by Richard Ngarava and ex-skipper Andrew Balbirnie, Lorcan Tucker and Curtis Campher also departed cheaply to leave Ireland on 37-4 after seven overs.
However, in-form Tector and Dockrell responded magnificently to take control of the contest.
Tector’s 45-ball knock included two sixes and three fours with Dockrell hammering three maximums in his even more exuberant 32-ball innings as Ireland clinched a morale-boosting series first series triumph in Zimbabwe.
Ireland’s last trip to Zimbabwe in June had seem them ignominiously fail to clinch a place at the World Cup in India, with a disappointing home summer following for Heinrich Malan’s side.
However, Zimbabwe’s confidence was also low after their shock failure to qualify for next summer’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA.
The hosts were also hindered by again being without Thursday’s match-winning hero and captain Sikandar Raza, who was suspended for the remainder of the T20 series following clashes with Ireland duo Campher and Josh Little in the opening game.
Josh Little, Gareth Delany and Craig Young took two wickets apiece as Clive Madande and Brian Bennett both contributed 27 in Zimbabwe’s innings.
A 140 tally looked par at best but the hosts then looked in a strong position as Stirling, Balbirnie, Tucker and Campher were quickly dismissed.
But Tector and Dockrell built their innings superbly and Ireland completed the comeback after losing the series opener.
The one-day series between the countries will begin at the same Harare venue on Wednesday with further contests following on Friday and next Sunday.