Burl’s 2 wickets, 30 runs give Zimbabwe series win over Ireland

Zimbabwe 144/6 beat Ireland 141/9 by four wickets with six balls remaining

HARARE — All-rounder Ryan Burl hit an 11-ball 30 not out in the third Twenty20 game on Sunday as Zimbabwe beat Ireland by four wickets with an over to spare to win the series 2-1.

Leg-spinner Burl first took 2-28 after Zimbabwe won the toss and chose to field at Harare Sports Club, restricting Ireland to 141-9. Burl, who was man of the match, then helped Zimbabwe’s chase with a rapid 30 after captain Craig Ervine fell shortly after his half-century.

Luke Jongwe hit the winning runs with a boundary over long on off the last ball of the penultimate over as the hosts reached 144-6.

“I spoke to Ryan, I told him he is a batsman who bowls leg spin, and he has won us matches with the ball. Today, with the bat, was the strong finish we want from him,” Zimbabwe’s head coach Dave Houghton said.

Off-spinner Wessly Madhevere alongside pacers Tendai Chatara and Jongwe also grabbed a brace of wickets each as Zimbabwe kept the Ireland batting in check with line and length.

Only Harry Tector was able to resist, top-scoring with 47 for Ireland in a patient 38-ball innings.

Tector was out when Madhevere’s delivery drifted through the air and clean-bowled the batter, uprooting the middle stump.

In pursuit, Ervine top-scored with 54 for the Zimbabweans, facing 43 balls and hitting six fours.

He anchored the innings after coming in at No. 3, taking quick singles and waiting patiently for the bad balls to find the boundary.

“It’s a great place to be at the moment, winning a series against Ireland with some of your lesser experienced players. It’s very exciting for the future,” said Ervine, commenting on the absence of star batter Sikandar Raza and premier bowler Blessing Muzarabani.

Gary Ballance was also missing for Zimbabwe for the second time in the series after a mild concussion in the first T20, which Zimbabwe won by five wickets.

Ireland won the second T20 game by six wickets with two balls remaining. – AP

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