Zimbabwe’s frailties while batting first were thoroughly exposed by a disciplined Ireland, which kept the three-match T20 series alive with a six-wicket victory at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
After Ireland won the toss and decided to put Zimbabwe into bat under grey skies, the hosts failed to draw inspiration from the vocal home supporters they were bowled out for 144 in the final over
Zimbabwe, who were without star batsman Gary Balance after he was ruled out due to injury would have been disappointed with their total as they were 86 for 3 after 11 overs.
The hosts, who lost wickets at regular intervals through poor shot selection and some ill-judged runouts went on to be restricted to a score of less than 150.
Craig Irvine top-scored for the hosts with 42 runs from 39 balls faced before falling to a brilliant running catch by Harry Tector on the fine leg boundary.
Seamer Graham Hume, who was making his first appearance in the series, was the pick of the Irish bowlers, taking three for 17.
Ireland in reply started steadily with openers Andy Balbirnie and Ross Adair putting on 48 for the first wicket before Balbirnie skied one off the bowling of Sean Burl and was dismissed for 33 in the 9th over.
Adair, a former rugby star, who played for top Irish rugby union side Ultser went onto make his maiden T20 International half-century in only his second game at this level off 40 deliveries.
He was eventually caught at long-on after a well-worked 65 which put Ireland in sight of victory, which earned him the player of the match award.
Harry Tector chipped in with a hard-working 26 to get Ireland close to the total and the visitors made the winning runs in the final over when George Dockrell smashed a huge six over long off to complete a six wicket victory and set up the series for Sunday’s decider.