Ireland beat Zimbabwe to go 2-1 up in T20 series

8 months ago 3466
Paul Stirling hit eight sixes and eight fours in his unbeaten 115 at BreadyIn-form Paul Stirling produced another scintillating innings to help Ireland take a 2-1 lead in the five-match T20 series against Zimbabwe
Ireland 178-2 (20 overs): Stirling 115*, Balbirne 31
Zimbabwe: 138 (18.2 overs): Ervine 33; Adair 3-11, Little 2-18, Getkate 2-32, White 2-23
Ireland won by 40 runs
Scorecard

Paul Stirling continued his brilliant run of summer form as his unbeaten 115 helped Ireland move 2-1 up in the T20 series against Zimbabwe.

After the hosts were put into bat, Stirling hit eight sixes and eight fours in a magnificent 75-ball knock.

His century helped Ireland reach 178-2 and Zimbabwe's best partnership in their reply was a paltry 28 as they were dismissed for 138 in 18.2 overs.

Recalled Mark Adair produced impressive Irish bowling figures of 3-11.

Josh Little, Ben White and Shane Getkate also claimed two dismissals each with the latter crucially bowling Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine after he had hit a brisk 33 in only 18 balls to give the visitors some hope of launching a fightback

But while the Irish bowling was tidy, all the headlines from Wednesday's victory will go to opener Stirling.

Less than two weeks ago, the Belfast man starred in South Brave's triumph in the inaugural men's Hundred with a 61 from 36 balls which led to him been named as match hero - effectively the man of the match.

His innings at the county Londonderry venue moved Stirling, 30, up from ninth to seventh in the all-time international T20 run standings as he leapfrogged Australia's David Warner and Shoaib Malik to bring his tally to 2,343.

The Belfast man will have two opportunities on Thursday and Saturday at Bready to move above sixth-placed Eoin Morgan in the T20 international list with India's Virat Kohli leading the table on 3,159 runs.

The hosts made three changes from Sunday's series-levelling win at Clontarf as William McClintock was handed his debut and Adair and Little also came into the side with Harry Tector, Craig Young and Barry McCarthy dropping out.

Adair and Little vindicated their selections with impressive bowling performances.

Holywood man Adair took the first Zimbabwe wicket as opener Wesley Madhevere was caught by skipper Andrew Balbirnie and the all-rounder's dismissal of Ryan Burl in the 18th over ended any slim lingering hopes the visitors had.

The sides complete the T20 series with games at Bready on Thursday and Saturday before the one-day series starts at Stormont next Wednesday.

T20I series remaining games:

2 September: Ireland v Zimbabwe - 4th T20I (Bready, 15:00 BST)

4 September: Ireland v Zimbabwe - 5th T20I (Bready, 15:00 BST)

World Cup Super League series:

8 September: Ireland v Zimbabwe - 1st ODI (Stormont, start 10.30 BST)

10 September: Ireland v Zimbabwe - 2nd ODI (Stormont, 10.30 BST)

13 September: Ireland v Zimbabwe - 3rd ODI (Stormont, 10.30 BST)

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