Thrilling end to 1st T20I between Zimbabwe and Ireland

In the first T20I played in Harare, Zimbabwe won on the last ball and defeated Ireland (ZIM vs IRE) by 1 wicket to take 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. Playing first, Ireland scored 147/8 in 20 overs, in reply to which Zimbabwe scored 148/9. Zimbabwe captain Sikandar Raza (42 balls 65 and 3/28) became the player of the match due to his all-round performance.

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Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bowl first but Ireland got off to a good start. Andrew Balbirnie added 44 runs for the first wicket with captain Paul Stirling. Stirling was dismissed by Richard Ngarwa on a personal score of 14. Balbirnie was also out after scoring 32 runs in 25 balls. The pair of Lorcan Tucker and Harry Tector took the score to 84. Tucker played an innings of 21 runs and was out in the 12th over.

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From here the innings faltered due to the quick dismissals of Curtis Campher (8), George Dockrell (4), Harry Tector (24) and Mark Adair (7) and the score became 115/7. In the last, Gareth Delaney played an unbeaten inning of 26 runs in 11 balls and the team managed to reach the challenging score. Captain Sikandar Raza took the maximum three wickets for Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe, which came to chase the target, also suffered initial setbacks and by the fourth over the score was 21/2. Wesley Madhevere along with Sikandar Raza took the score past 50 but he was out in the ninth over at the score of 53 after scoring 25 runs in 26 balls. Zimbabwe lost 5 wickets within 100 runs due to the dismissal of Ryan Burl (12) and debutant Brian Bennett (1).

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Sikandar Raza did not give up and completed his half-century in 35 balls. Clive Madande scored 20 runs in 11 balls and kept the team in the match, adding 35 runs in 17 balls along with the captain before being dismissed at 132 in the 18th over. 13 runs were needed in the last 12 balls but there was a big blow in the 19th over and Raza was out after scoring 65 runs in 42 balls. Matters went to the last over, with Zimbabwe needing 9 runs to win with 2 wickets remaining.

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Ireland’s Barry McCarthy gave only 3 runs in the first 3 balls of the last over but Richard Ngarava (5) hit a four on the fourth ball. On the fifth ball of Ngarava’s short, Mark Adair, posted at third man, took a tremendous catch and now 2 runs were needed on the last ball to win. Zimbabwe batsman Blessing Muzarabani could not hit the last ball correctly and the ball took the inside edge and went behind but the keeper misfielded and the batsmen took 2 runs and gave their team a thrilling victory.

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