The Sunday Mail
CHEVRONS skipper Craig Ervine has lauded his charges for their “collective effort with both bat and ball”, following Wednesday’s resounding 38-run victory over Ireland in the first One-day International in Belfast.
Zimbabwe take a morale boosting one-nil lead heading into Friday’s second ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League encounter, with Ervine hoping for a repeat of the same.
“It feels really good to start off like this, and obviously get 10 points in the bag,” said Ervine after the first match.
“It’s only the first game, and we still got two more really important games to go.
“I thought it was a collective effort from us, with both bat and ball, and I think going into the next two games we are going to need more of the same,” he said.
The wicket, and how the teams responded to it, was key during the first match.
Ireland won the toss and elected to field, after which Zimbabwe raced to 266 for seven in their allotted 50 overs.
At the heart of that innings was a gritty 49 off 45 balls, and half centuries from the skipper (64) and a returning Sikandar Raza (59).
“Yeah, I thought BT (Taylor) batted excellent up the front, with the ball moving around, and then Raza finished the innings well for us.
“He did well with Wesley Madhevere and Luke Jongwe right at the end there.’’
The batting effort gave Zimbabwe a very competitive total (266), one which required Ireland to pull off their highest successful chase against them.
Unfortunately, the Chevrons were up for the task with Blessing Muzarabani, Wellington Masakadza and Sean Williams taking seven wickets for 41 runs in the last 10 overs.
During that period, Ireland went from a challenging but achievable position of needing 81 runs in the last 12 overs to eventually falling 38 short.
Muzarabani was the pick of the bowlers with his third haul of four wickets or more in his 25-match ODI career, while only the duo of William Porterfield (75) and Harry Tector (50) looked comfortable during the chase.
The rest lost their wickets at regular intervals.
“Blessing (Muzarabani) and Richard Ngarava really set the tone for us during the first ten overs, and we strangled them very well with the spin.
“At one stage it looked like it was getting away from us slightly, but the guys stuck to their guns.
“It was excellent to come out on top’’.
The two teams meet again Friday, before wrapping up this leg of the tour with the third and final ODI on September 13.
Zimbabwe will then move on to Scotland for a three-match T20 series.