THE Zimbabwe cricket team missed the presence of Captain Sikandar Raza, who received a two-match ban from ICC when they lost to visiting Ireland by four wickets in the second T20 of the three-match series yesterday, setting up a potentially thrilling decider.
The final tie of the series is scheduled for 1pm at Harare Sports Club this afternoon.
Chevrons set Ireland a target of 166 after being put in to bat first scoring 165/4 in 20 overs but the Irish chased down to the total in 19.4 overs reaching 166/6.
Zimbabwe literally got a taste of their own medicine having led the series 1-0 off a last-ball thriller in the first ever T20I played under lights at Harare Sports Club last Thursday night.
Clive Madande and Ryan Burl finished unbeaten on 44 from 39 and 38 from 33 balls respectively while Tinashe Kamunhukamwe who replaced skipper Raza weighed in with 39 runs from 27 balls up the order with stand-in skipper Sean Williams adding 17 from nine deliveries.
Richard Ngarava picked two wickets for 33 runs from four overs while Trevor Gwandu and Brian Bennett got their first T20I wickets. Blessing Muzarabani and Luke Jongwe also picked a wicket each.
Harry Tector, Curtis Campher, Mark Adair scored 48, 37 and 19 respectively for Ireland.
Meanwhile, Raza sat out of the match after being sanctioned by the International Cricket Council over his altercation with Ireland's Little and Camphor.
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In an emotionally charged series opener, Raza raced down the track for a single off Josh Little's delivery, the Irishman seemingly blocked the Zimbabwean's path, he went over to Little and talked the issue over.
However, Campher went over to Raza and whispered words that infuriated the Zimbabwean skipper who was only restrained by umpire Foster Mutizwa as he charged towards Campher with his bat aimed at him in furry.
Raza was handed a two-match ban subsequently ruling him out of the T20 series for breaching the ICC code of conduct. He was also fined 50% of his match fee while at the same time receiving two demerit points.
Campher and Little were fined 15% of their respective match fees and received one demerit point each.
Campher was charged with charging towards Raza, side-stepping one of the on-field umpires who tried to stop his progress.
Little was charged with making physical contact with Raza after the latter complained about Little’s blocking his path when trying to make a run.