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Zimbabwe go down to Ireland in rain-hit final ODI as series ends level

Zimbabwe – 131 all out in 34 overs (Craig Ervine 57, Wessly Madhevere 16, Luke Jongwe 10; Andy McBrine 3/26, Josh Little 3/33, Simi Singh 2/35)

Ireland – 118-3 in 22.2 overs (Paul Stirling 43, Andy Balbirnie 34, William Porterfield 16; Wellington Masakadza 1/9, Blessing Muzarabani 1/13, Richard Ngarava 1/33)

Ireland won by seven wickets (DLS method)

Zimbabwe went down to Ireland by seven wickets in a rain-affected final one-day international at Stormont on Monday as the three-match series ended level at one-all.

Rain and a damp outfield delayed the start by over an hour, resulting in the match being reduced to 42 overs per side.

Ireland won the toss and put Zimbabwe in to bat.

Brendan Taylor, opening the innings with Regis Chakabva, scored seven runs off 12 balls, including a thick edge past the slips for four, before he took a big slog at a good ball from Josh Little and was bowled middle stump to leave the tourists at 11 for one in the fourth over.

In his next over, Little also accounted for Chakabva, who was bowled for five to reduce Zimbabwe to 15 for two.

Craig Ervine and Wessly Madhevere handled the situation calmly, playing themselves in and gradually opening up as they put on a partnership worth 59.

Madhevere had 16 when he tried a lofted drive but miscued it to be caught at mid-on for 16, with the total now 74 for three in the 16th over.

Sean Williams could not get going and, at 83, he became the fourth wicket to fall when Andy McBrine bowled him out for four in the 19th over.

A few balls later Ervine hammered a long hop from Little through the covers for four to reach his fifty off only 51 deliveries.

McBrine and Simi Singh then produced a fine spell of bowling, backed by tight fielding, and both Ervine and Sikandar Raza found it difficult to keep the score moving.

It resulted in the wicket of Ervine, caught at the wicket off McBrine for 57, scored off 65 balls with seven fours and a six.

Zimbabwe were now struggling at 99 for five in the 25th over.

It was a most untimely dismissal, as only three more balls had been bowled, with Ryan Burl in, when the rain returned and the players had to leave the field.

When play restarted, about half an hour had been lost and the match was further reduced to 38 overs aside.

At 106 a brilliant stop by Andy Balbirnie caused a mix-up between the batsmen in mid-pitch, and Raza was run out for nine.

Burl was then bowled for five and Luke Jongwe, after hitting McBrine for two successive fours, was trapped lbw for 10.

Blessing Muzarabani did not score before he edged a catch to the keeper off Little, the score now 121 for nine wickets in the 30th over.

Wellington Masakadza (7 not out) and Richard Ngarava (3) held on as long as they could, but eventually Ngarava was bowled by Singh.

Zimbabwe were all out for a total of just 131 runs off 34 overs, with only Ervine and Madhevere scoring more than 10.

McBrine and Little took three wickets each, for 26 and 33 runs respectively, while Singh took two and Shane Getkate one.

Between the innings there was further rain and another delay, and when the players finally took the field again Ireland’s target had been adjusted to 126 off 35 overs.

William Porterfield and Paul Stirling made a cautious start, but once they had settled in they went on to the attack.

At 36 there was yet another rain delay, resulting in the target being again revised to 118 from 32 overs.

The batsmen took their partnership to 48 in the 10th over, when Porterfield (16), attempting to ramp a ball from Muzarabani, edged it to the keeper.

With Ireland on 89, Stirling mistimed a pull off Ngarava and was caught by Muzarabani at midwicket, having scored 43 off 40 balls, with two sixes and five fours.

Balbirnie began to increase the pace and the 100 went up in the following over.

He took his team close to victory, but at 113 he chipped a ball from Masakadza to Ervine at extra cover and was out for 34.

In the following over, though, Harry Tector (13 not out) hit Burl for a four and a single to complete a seven-wicket victory, with almost 10 overs to spare.

So Ireland levelled the series at one match to each side.

Zimbabwe won the opener but the second game was washed out.

Zimbabwe now head to Scotland for three Twenty20 internationals, starting on Wednesday.

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