THE Zimbabwe national cricket team will be looking to wrap up their three-match T20 series against touring Ireland at Harare Sports Club with a win this afternoon.
Zimbabwe won the first match by five wickets on Thursday and the last two matches will be played today and tomorrow.
A win for the home side will see them take an unassailable 2-nil lead.
Having been bowled out for just 113 runs in the first match, Ireland will be primed to fight back to salvage the series, which sets up a mouth-watering contest for what is expected to be a full house in the stands.
“We are still trying to find the right pairings and strategies. We are trusting the strategies that Dave and Stuart are putting together, ours is just to go out there and execute.
“I think we will definitely improve over the remaining two games in the series,” said Ireland’s Gareth Delaney following Thursday’s defeat.
“It was not the way we wanted to start, we have gone over that and how we will look to improve. We didn’t adapt as quickly as we needed to and to be fair Zimbabwe bowled well.
“A total of 130 would have given us a shout of winning yet after the first (six-over) powerplay we were on top. But with our low score of (114), one or two big overs changes it, but the belief was there until (Sean) Williams got a few boundaries away,” Delaney said.
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Zimbabwe will be hoping that the rains stay away so that they can have the chance to play the full 40 overs today.
“Coming into this series with the rain we were not quite sure what the wicket would be like and whether we would be able to get a game,” Thursday's Man of the Match Ryan Burl said.
He expressed his delight at playing with Gary Ballance who made his senior debut for Zimbabwe in the first T20 having previously represented England.
“Gary is an experienced player, a very calming presence as well, he has fitted in well and we are very happy to have him. We are picking a lot of his brain and he is learning from us.”
He said that they will be hoping to bowl the same way they did in the first match.
“If we can have a repeat of the (Thursday) bowling in the next two games, we will be very happy.
Ballance started off his Chevrons career with a 29 ball 30 runs after coming in at number four with Zimbabwe on 43 for 3.
Sean Williams (34 not out) and Clive Madande (18 not out) guided Zimbabwe home as they chased down a modest 114 in 18 overs following Ireland's struggles with the bat.
Williams faced 30 balls and managed three boundaries while Madande also hit the fence the same number of times.
Ballance scored Zimbabwe's only six in addition to two boundaries as the hosts eased to victory ahead of the final two matches and tomorrow and Sunday, which will be played at the same venue.
Zimbabwe's openers Craig Ervine and Tadiwanashe Marumani scored four runs each with the former failing to utilise the gift of a second life having been dropped first ball.
Marumani was rather unfortunate in his lbw dismal off the bowling of Mark Adair and he will be praying for better fortunes today
Wellington Masakadza took two wickets for just 13 runs in four overs after he removed Curtis Campher (20) and Tyrone Kane (9).
Burl finished with the best bowling figures for Zimbabwe with 3 for 29 in four overs.
Sean Williams was the only Zimbabwean bowler to go wicketless with Chatara and Ngarava equally sharing four while Evans 1 for 9 in two overs
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