Zimbabwe pull off an incredible one wicket win against Ireland in the opening T20I

By Real11 - Dec 8 2023 142 Views

Sikandar Raza all-round show guides Zimbabwe to a thrilling one wicket win

Zimbabwe secured a thrilling 1-wicket win over Ireland in the T20I opener at the Harare Sport Club. Laying aside the sheer disappointment of not qualifying for the next year’s T20 World Cup, Zimbabwe commemorated the occasion (the first ever international match to be played under the lights in Zimbabwe) with a final over finish. 

Batting first, Ireland got off to a flying start and scored 44 without any loss inside five overs before skipper Paul Stirling was trapped leg-before wicket. Andy Balbirnie, who had already smashed six fours and a six for his 32, followed soon after when Skindar Raza castled him and kept the scoring rate in check. Raza then struck with the prized scalps of Harry Tector and Curtis Campher as they seemed to be in omnishambles. At one stage, they were struggling at 116/8 before Gareth Delany chipped in with a quickfire 11 ball 26 to help his side reach a fighting total of 147.

Raza then shouldered the batting responsibility after Barry McCarthy and Joshua Little left Zimbabwe struggling at 21/2. Raza alongside Wessly Madhevere steadied the ship for a while before Madhevere fell for 25. While the visitors kept on picking up wickets from one end, Raza firmly stood at the other. Needing 11 from 10, the hosts were favourites to get over the line with Raza still there in the middle but his wicket turned the game upside down and tilted the scales in favour of the men in green.   

The equation came down to 9 off the final over and then 6 off 3 deliveries. Just when the game was looking to run away from Zimbabwe, Richard Ngarava stepped in. He smacked a boundary off the fifth ball, much to the delight of the home crowd. Mark Adair then pulled off an incredible catch off the penultimate ball to keep his side in contention but an inside edge and a fumble by the wicket keeper allowed the home side to get two runs off the final ball. 

Brief scores: Ireland 147/8 in 20 overs (Andy Balbirnie 32, Gareth Delany 26*; Sikandar Raza 3/28, Richard Ngarava 2/23) lost to Zimbabwe 148/9 in 20 overs (Sikandar Raza 65; Joshua Little 2/17) by 1 wicket  


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