Zimbabwe beat Ireland in T20I opener



Clontarf :   Ireland lost to Zimbabwe by three runs in the first of five Twenty20 internationals between the sides.
Zimbabwe were in trouble at 5-2 but Regis Chakabva top-scored with 47 off 28 balls to help steer the tourists to a total of 117-7 at Clontarf.
Ireland began their reply strongly, as Paul Stirling scored 24 and opening partner Kevin O’Brien got 25.
But despite Simi Singh’s unbeaten 28, the hosts fell narrowly short of their target, spinner Ryan Burl taking 3-22.
Ireland required six runs from the final over but left-arm quick Richard Ngarava kept his composure to concede just two runs and bowl Barry McCarthy in the process.
Stirling, fresh from a match-winning display for Southern Brave in the Hundred Final, was playing his 300th match for Ireland and hit his 24 off just 19 balls.
Andrew Balbirnie, George Dockrell, Shane Getkate, Curtis Campher and Neil Rock all fell for single-figure scores but Singh managed his 28 off 22 deliveries.
For O’Brien, his creditable knock marked something of a return to form, the 37-year-old having managed only two runs in the three T20 defeats by South Africa in July a month after opting to end his one-day international career.
In addition to leg-spinner Burl’s three-wicket haul, Wellington Masakadza and Luke Jongwe took two wickets apiece to help their side to victory.
Masakadza also performed strongly with the bat, scoring 19 not out in his side’s innings. Craig Young and Singh both claimed two Zimbabwean wickets.
Chakabva’s match-defining innings included four fours and one-six from his 28 balls received.
The second match of the series will be played at the same venue on Sunday.