Ervine, Williams help Zimbabwe level series

While all eyes were on the 2019 World Cup final, around 500 miles away from London in Northern Ireland, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine slammed fifties as Zimbabwe gunned down a target of 172 with 20 balls to spare to level the three-match T20I series 1-1 in Bready on Sunday (July 14).Cricket is a great leveller – as cliched as it might sound, it did prick Ireland. Couple of days back, riding on Paul Stirling’s heroics, the hosts made a mockery of Zimbabwe’s total. It was the turn of Ireland’s bowlers today, who were at the receiving end of some brutal assault by the pair of Williams and Ervine.
Things didn’t go as per plan for Ireland. It all started with Williams castling Stirling off the very first ball of the innings. But Gary Wilson, who replaced Kevin O Brien at the top, justified his promotion. The visitors’ hopes of inflicting any more damage were put on hold with Wilson and O’Brien stitching a gritty partnership for the second wicket.Just when the partnership was blossoming and O’Brien was looking to cut loose, Kyle Jarvis in his second over rocked Ireland with twin-strikes in three balls. Thompson joined his skipper and another partnership mushroomed for Ireland with the duo adding 46 runs. Chatara came back in his new spell and nipped out Thompson but the runs continued to flow. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, the home team got the much-needed boost towards the end as they garnered 79 runs off the final 6 overs, thanks to some cameos from the lower-order as Ireland finished on a challenging total of 171 for 6.
At the half-way stage, Ireland would’ve felt that the game and the series was there for the taking. Hamilton Masakadza’s dismissal in the second over only strengthened their position but Brendon Taylor hit timely boundaries in the next few overs to resurrect the chase for Zimbabwe. It needed Shane Getkate only two balls to remove the dangerous Taylor, who fell after scoring an aggressive 39 in the seventh over. Williams walked in next and showed intent from the word go. He along with Ervine tormented Ireland’s bowlers with their maniac hitting as they added 71 runs in the next 7 overs to drive Zimbabwe in the ascendancy. Both batsmen completed fifties and pinned the Irish bowlers to the mat as they romped home to a comfortable eight wicket victory in the 17th over.