Zimbabwe thrashed Ireland by 107 runs as Sikander Raza Butt struck 69 to take the Chevrons to 211 for 9 at Harare Sports Club this afternoon and join Scotland at the top of the cricket world cup qualifier super six with five points.
Ireland were dismissed for 104, as they floundered against spin in pursuit of 212.
It was a big margin in the end, but Zimbabwe had to fight and had Raza Butt to thank for the game’s only half-century.
Raza’s half century led Zimbabwe to 211.
Spinners then took over, taking eight of the 10 Irish wickets.
The Chevrons were on 87 for 5 but recovered to post more than 200, and similarly Ireland were 86 for 5 but a suicidal run out also saw them lose their last five wickets for 18 runs.
Although the target was a modest one, Zimbabwe would have been in troubled waters had it not been for Raza’s knock of 69.
He stayed unbeaten till the end and batted well with the tail, especially with Tendai Chisoro with whom he added 34 runs for the eighth wicket.
Unfortunately, there was not much support for Raza at the other end as Ireland kept chipping away with the wickets at regular intervals to deny any kind of momentum to the Zimbabwe innings.
Tim Murtagh picked up three wickets while Andy McBrine took two.
Boyd Rankin, Barry McCarthy and Kevin O’brien had one wicket each to their names.
The target looked to be a moderate one for Ireland, but Zimbabwe managed to bowl as well as Ireland did, they made a tight contest out of this game during the Ireland’s innings.
Ireland had a strong batting line-up, just like during the clash between Afghanistan and West Indies showed how tricky chasing these small totals can be.
Porterfield was caught by Raza off spin strike by Chisoro for 7 and Ireland were 12 for 1.
Balbirnie was caught by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor from Kyle Jarvis bowling for 2 – Ireland 17 for 2 and was followed by Ed Joyce stumped by Taylor from the bowling of Chisoro for a duck to leave Ireland for 18 for 3.
N O’brien was caught by a superb Blessing Muzurabani from Chisoro bowling for 8 to leave Ireland 34 for 4.
K O’brien caught by Hamilton Masakadza off the bowling of Sean Williams for 7 with Ireland on 54 for 5.
Paul Stirling was run out by Raza for 41 having played so well to leave Ireland on 86 for 6 and that could have been the decisive moment.
Gary Wilson Ireland’s last recognised batsman was lbw by Graeme Cremer for 15 with Ireland on 89 for 7.
Tailender McCarthy was caught by Sean Williams off bowling by Cremer for 2 to leave Ireland 95 for 8.
Boyd Rankin was bowled by man of the match Raza for 1 leaving Ireland on 97 for 9. Raza led Zimbabwe to a match-winning total, took the first catch and who ran out top-scorer Paul Stirling.
But it was Cremer who finished off the job with the wicket of Tim Murtagh caught by Mire for 4 as Ireland are bowled for 104 all out.
Cremer delivers the final blow as Tim Murtagh holes out into the deep.
What a win for Zimbabwe! What a comeback!