While the Zimbabwe Cricket board is in a crisis, the team’s performance on the field has been no different as they lost all five ODIs on their tour of Europe. They became the first full-member nation to lose a multi-match ODI series against the Netherlands and later got whitewashed by Ireland in the 3-match series. The only positive from this tour for Zimbabwe has been the Super Over win against the Dutch in the T20I.
The tied game brought an end to their losing streak that began post their famous 2-run win against India at home in 2016. In fact, Zimbabwe needed one run from four balls in the game against the Netherlands which later went into Super Over as they failed to score the remaining one run. Craig Ervine and Paul Stirling will be the players to watch out for in the 3-match T20I series starting on Wednesday.
The 1st game of the 3-match T20I series between Ireland and Zimbabwe will be hosted by the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast.
The match starts at 12:30 PM local time (11:30 AM GMT) (5:00 PM IST). The game will be streamed live on Ireland Cricket Website.
Last five completed T20I matches:
Ireland: L, L, L, W, L.
Zimbabwe: T (W), L, L, L, L.
The Civil Service Cricket Club ground has hosted only one Twenty20 game since the start of 2016. Considering 8 Twenty20s played at the venue since 2015, it can be said that the pitch isn’t made for big scores. Same was proved during the ODI series. Out of those eight matches, the batting first side posted under 130 on six occasions and ended up losing all the six. The chasing teams found it tough when they while chasing more than 140.
Average first innings score: 119 (Completed Twenty20s since 2015)
Record of chasing teams: Won – 6, Lost – 2
Probable Playing XIs:
Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andrew Balbirnie, Lorcan Tucker, Gareth Delany, Shane Getkate, Gary Wilson (C & WK), Mark Adair, George Dockrell, Joshua Little, Boyd Rankin.
Bench – Tyrone Kane, Greg Thompson, Craig Young.
Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza (C), Brendan Taylor, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Peter Moor, Ryan Burl, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara.
Bench – Chris Mpofu, Ainsley Ndlovu, Richmond Mutumbami, Elton Chigumbura.
(Will be added when there is an update)
Paul Stirling had good returns in T20Is at the start of 2019. The Irish opener struck three half-centuries in the six T20Is he played this year. In those six knocks, Stirling scored 252 runs at an average of 42 including his best T20I score of 91. The senior batsman has done well in ODIs too this year scored 502 runs at an average of 55.77 from only nine ODIs by scoring five fifties and a century in this span.