Zimbabwe won the opening match against Ireland in the 3-match T20 series at Harare South Country Club, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl first. With a firm start by the openers Waldron and Raymond-Hoey, the visiting side put up a short but committed partnership of 30 runs, after which Hoey’s wicket fell, when she was caught on mid-on. From there onwards, the batting line-up of Ireland collapsed. However, the opener cum Captain played a pivotal role and helped Ireland to cross the 100 run-mark at the end of the 1st innings. She smashed 4 boundaries in her knock of 34 runs. There were two run-outs as both of the players’ return to the pavilion due to direct-hits in the 1st innings.
Zimbabwe bowlers ripped apart the entire line-up as Marange and Mushangwe picked two wickets each. Granger took a wicket of the Kavanagh, and Ireland ended up setting a low target of 101 runs.
In a low-scoring match, Zimbabwe had to struggle till the last ball to reach the target of 102 runs, but could surpass the target, due to some powerful knocks by the opener Ndiraya and captain Mugeri who scored 32 runs and 31 runs to complete the match off with a win.
Captain Mugeri remained not out, as she took the team to the winning side by clearing the boundary over square leg.
Ireland put up a tough fight as they took the chase till the last over, by keeping the run-rate right. Murray picked 2 wickets and Kelada took the wicket of the strong opener Ndiraya. Kelada also picked the 1st international wicket of her career during this match. Some economical spells by Joyce ensured Zimbabwe didn’t get an easy win over Ireland as she ended her spell with the figures of 4-1-6 at an economy of 1.50.
A win ensured that Zimbabwe are 1-0 up in the series and Ireland will have to find a way back to bounce back and level the series. The 2nd T20 match will start on 10th February at Harare South Country Club, Zimbabwe.