Burl credits bowling coach Kirby after match-winning display 

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Ryan Burl was named Player of the Match after his three wickets for 29 runs helped restrict Ireland to 114 all out in 19.2 overs

Zimbabwe cricket team all-rounder Ryan Burl has praised the work done by bowling coach Steve Kirby following the team’s impressive show will the ball in the five-wicket victory over Ireland in the first T20I at Harare Sports Club on Thursday.

After winning the toss and electing to field, the Chevrons dismissed the tourists for 114 runs in 19.4 overs and Burl was the pick of the bowlers with figures of three for 29 with his leg spin.

He was named the Player of the Match.

There were also some superb displays with the ball from offspinner Wellington Masakadza and seamers Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava, who all grabbed two wickets apiece while Brad Evans had one scalp.

Burl attributed the accomplished bowling performance to the former Somerset bowling guru, Kirby, who has been working hard with the bowling group since his arrival in September.

“Kirbs has been outstanding. His work ethic is really high and he is one of those guys who is a good ‘annoying’ coach and is constantly making sure that you are working and working but obviously the bowlers are enjoying it. We have been having some fun competitions out there and bowling them out for 114 proves it’s working hopefully the next two games will be the same,” Burl told reporters.

“I think coming into this series with a lot of rain we weren’t sure in how good the wickets will be so I think winning the toss and getting the visitors into bat was key. The bowlers bowled really well, and the fielders took the catches and knocked it off so we are very happy to start the new year with a win.”

Zimbabwe now lead the three-match T20I  series 1-0 and will be looking to wrap it up with a game to spare at the same venue on Saturday.

“In the next match the target is to win again . If we can have a repeat of today in the bowling side obviously we would have looked to chase losing less wickets but it was a tough wicket to bat on and we were really happy to cross the line. If we can replicate that in the next two games we will be very happy,” he said.

Former England player Gary Ballance made his debut for his country of birth on Thursday and was the second-highest scorer with 30 runs from 29 balls.

Sean Williams was the highest run scorer in the match with 34 from 30 balls.

Burl also shared his sentiments on the coming of Ballance into the team.

“Gary is obviously an experienced player very calm in presence as well and he has fitted in really well AND we are happy to have him on our side,” he said.

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