Ireland level series with tense four-wicket win against Zimbabwe |

By BBC Sport

IRELAND set up a T20 series decider against Zimbabwe on Sunday by clinching a tense four-wicket win over the hosts at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

A 87-run sixth-wicket stand between Clive Madande and Ryan Burl helped Zimbabwe post 165-6 in Harare.

After losing early wickets, Harry Tector and Curtis Campher’s 66-run partnership had Ireland on 120-3 before they departed within nine balls.

But late boundaries from Mark Adair and George Dockrell helped Ireland triumph with four balls to spare.

Adair’s 13-ball knock of 19 included a six before he was dismissed by Luke Jongwe in the first delivery of the final over with the tourists still needing seven runs to level the series.

New arrival Gareth Delany contributed a single off his first ball before Dockrell clinched victory as he followed a two by striking a match-winning boundary.

Tector top-scored for Ireland with 48 with Campher contributing 37 during their 7.1-over partnership after skipper Paul Stirling and ex-captain Andrew Balbirnie had departed early to leave the tourists on 20-2.

The sides produced another exciting contest after the hosts had edged a one-wicket last-ball win in Thursday’s opener at Harare Sports Club.

However, Zimbabwe went into Saturday’s game without Thursday’s match-winning hero and captain Sikandar Raza, who was suspended for the remainder of the T20 series following clashes with Ireland duo Campher and Josh Little in the opener.

Raza, who top-scored for the hosts on Thursday with 65 in addition to taking three Irish wickets, was fined 50% of his match fee and the addition of two demerit points to previous disciplinary breaches over the past two years led to him being ruled out of the weekend T20 contests.

Campher and Little were fined 15% match fees and received one demerit point each, which were their first sanctions during the relevant two-year period.

Adair the pick of the Ireland bowlers

In addition to his late contribution with the bat, Adair was also the pick of the Ireland bowlers as he trapped Tadiwanashe Marumani lbw off the second ball before soon sending Wesley Madhevere to the pavilion as Balbirnie took the catch to leave the hosts on 18-2.

A 47-run partnership between Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and skipper for the day Sean Williams steadied the Zimbabwe innings but they both departed within an over with Delany and Campher taking their wickets before Craig Young’s dismissal of Brian Bennett left Zimbabwe on 78-5.

However, wicketkeeper Madande and Burl batted to the close as they were unbeaten on 44 and 39. Burl’s innings included three sixes with Madande hitting one maximum.

Their efforts enabled Zimbabwe to post a competitive total but the partnership between Tector and Campher gave Ireland the initiative before Adair and Dockrell closed out victory for the tourists.

After Sunday’s T20 series decider in Harare, the countries will be involved in a three-match one-day series with the games taking place at the same venue on 13, 15 and 17 December.

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