Cricket: Zimbabwe vs Ireland – T20 Series
1st T20 – Zimbabwe vs Ireland – Harare Sports Club
Two sides who are looking to break into the upper echelons of World T20 cricket face off as Ireland travel to Zimbabwe, for what should be an enthralling series. Zimbabwe have produced some excellent results in recent years, but consistency has always blighted them, especially in tournament cricket. Ireland meanwhile have gained Test playing status in the past few seasons, but they too perhaps don’t have the bank of top quality results they would have hoped for against top level opposition. With so much to play for, this should be an excellent series between two quality sides, with plenty to prove.
Match Preview: Zimbabwe vs Ireland – 1st T20
Match Winner Odds:
It has been a positive few years for Zimbabwe in the white ball sphere and they will be looking to build upon that with the 50-over World Cup on the horizon. Beating Ireland in the World T20 recently is sure to give Zimbabwe a real confidence boost heading into this one and they will be all too aware of the importance of putting on a performance for their home fans here. Captain Craig Ervine will be a player they are looking towards for runs, with Sean Williams providing stability in the middle order and former England player Gary Balance sure to be playing with plenty of scrutiny on him in this series. Ryan Burl looks to be a talented all-rounder, capable of changing the game with both bat and ball whilst Richard Ngrava and Tendai Chatara will be steaming in with ball in hand.
With Test status already secured and some excellent results against higher-ranked sides in recent years, Irish cricket is continually making huge leaps forward. Andrew Balbirnie is now the leader of the side and his runs at the top of the order are essential, as are the exploits of Harry Tector – who has developed into one of the most consistent performers in Irish cricket over the past 12 months. Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany are two genuine all-rounders, who can change the game with both bat and ball, and they could be vital here too. Mark Adair brings the X-factor of pace to the Irish attack and with support from Barry McCarthy and Fionn Hand, it is a handy looking bowling department Ireland possess.
Match Betting Tips
Former England Test player Gary Balance is once again playing for the country of his birth and he tends to step up when the chips are down.
Captain Andrew Balbirnie is a hugely talented ball striker, who can hit the ball 360 degrees and his innovation could prove invaluable for Ireland in this one.
Having an alternative option can often be the difference at international level and left arm seamer Richard Ngrava could trouble the Irish batters in this one.
Pace could be another determining factor in this evenly poised encounter and Mark Adair could give the Zimbabwean batsmen the hurry up from the off.
There is very little to split these sides on paper, with plenty of quality performers in both sides but home advantage and a good recent run of form could propel Zimbabwe over the line in this one.