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Ireland have ended their series with Zimbabwe as 3-2 winners after the visitors won the final T20I test by five runs at Bready Cricket Club in Derry.
Zimbabwe took the fifth and final test in the final game of a series that was already decided to soften the blow of the setback.
Craig Ervine scored 67 for his side, achieving his third T20I half-century in an unbeaten fashion, to help Zimbabwe to their second triumph of the T20 games against Ireland.
However, the side started slowly with three batters being dismissed for single-digit scores – Mark Adair had another fruitful opener, taking two of the other and keeping Zimbabwe’s first batter, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, scoreless.
Ervine and Wesley Madhevere steadied things for the Zimbabweans after their 3/2 start and got 31 runs between them before the latter fell to Josh Little.
Ervine stepped up to the plate and achieved his unbeaten 67 with the support of Dion Myers and Milton Shumba, who added 40 between them to propel their side to 124/4 at the end of their 20 overs.
Myers became Adair’s third and final wicket of the day after scoring 26 runs in 23 balls.
Ireland failed to get going in the first six overs with Kevin O’Brien, captain Andy Balbirnie, Player of the Series Paul Stirling and Harry Tector all walking inside six overs.
Despite his early exit, Stirling finished the game as Ireland’s second-highest scorer with 19 runs from 13 balls.
The man ahead of him on the scoring charts, Neil Rock, got Ireland 22 runs off 21 balls but the side allowed too many wickets.
Luke Jongwe and Donald Tiripano picked up three wickets each as they bowled Ireland out for 119 in 20 overs.
The two sides will face each other three more times this month in the form of One Day Internationals beginning on Wednesday, September 8.
However, the next T20I action for Ireland will be at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in October – their first fixture is a match against the Netherlands on October 18.