Adair, Tector and Campher lead Ireland to victory to level the series – LSB

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Ireland 166 for 6 (Tector 48, Kamfer 37, Ngarava 2-33) Zimbabwe 165 for 5 (Madande 44*, Kamonhokamwe 39, Pearl 38*, Adair 2-28) with four wickets.

Zimbabwe and Ireland produced another close contest, but this time it was Ireland who came out on top to level the T20I series at 1-1 with one game to go. A 66-run stand from 43 balls between Harry Tector and Curtis Campher turned the match in Ireland’s favor before George Dockrell and Mark Adair guided them to victory.

Earlier, an unbeaten stand of 87 for the sixth wicket between Ryan Burle and Clive Madande helped Zimbabwe to 165 for 5 after they were in trouble at 78 for 5.

Then, Richard Ngarava and Blessing Muzarabane did not allow Andy Balbirnie and Paul Sterling to get off to the fast start they had in the first game, and Ireland were reduced to 20 for 2 chasing inside four overs, struggling to get the ball out. Away on slow pitch.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers kept it tight and made good use of slow balls to make it difficult to cross the boundary. But Tector and Lorcan Tucker took Trevor Gwandu for 18 runs to end the power play on a high and give Ireland some momentum. Gwandu struck back in the next over, with Tucker offering a simple catch with a short fine.

That’s when Tector and Campher began their repair mission, with the duo cleverly using pitch positions and ground dimensions to ensure the run continued despite Zimbabwe not offering any freebies.

They found the gaps regularly, and even when they didn’t get the boundaries, they continued to hit them to the long midwicket boundaries for the duo.

Ireland helped Zimbabwe who were tired in the bowling department. With Sikandar Raza suspended for two matches after collecting deprivation points for an altercation with Campher and Josh Little in the first game, they didn’t really have the biggest spin threat. And Shaun Williams, who could trouble right-handed batsmen on a slow surface and was Zimbabwe’s stand-in captain, could only bowl one ball before suffering a side injury, but it ruled him out for the rest of the match.

Zimbabwe had to turn to part-time players in Wesley Madhevere and Brian Bennett, and it was the latter who brought them back into the game thanks to Kamfer’s wicket, where the all-rounder holed out for a long period.

Then, Ngarava dismissed Tector and Zimbabwe suddenly started playing with two new overs.

But Adair and Dockrell maintained their composure and took Ireland to within seven runs of victory in the final over. Adair was the aggressor into the stands, driving Ngarava down the ground for four before edging Muzarabani long on for a glorious six.

But as in the last match, there was some late drama again as Adair bowled the first ball at the end over long on.

One ball later, Tadiwanashe Marumane brought down Dockrell at deep cover. However, Dockrell clipped Luke Jonjoy at number three to end the match with a boundary.

After winning the toss, Ireland started well as Adair pinned Maromane in front for a first-ball duck. Adair then bounced off Madhevere before Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Williams began to restore momentum for Zimbabwe.

The two put on Craig Young, smashing him for 22 runs in the fifth over to suddenly make Zimbabwe a powerhouse.

Kamonhokamoi, playing in Reza’s place, started slowly but pulled Young down for sixty. Williams had also raced to 17 when he too fell victim to a short-ball trick. Legspinner George Delany quickly caught Kamunhukamwe before Young Bennett caught another short ball.

Zimbabwe’s score could have been lower, but Delaney downed Pearl with 16 points.

A counter-attack by Kamunhukamwe and Williams in the middle saw Burl and Madande repair work before they accelerated to death.

Pearl hit three fours in a 33-ball 38* and Madande, who played a useful role in the first T20I, top-scored for Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 44.

Abhimanyu Bose is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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