Spinners Andy McBrine and Simi Singh shared five wickets, as Zimbabwe lost 8 for 57
Zimbabwe131 (Ervine 57, McBrine 3-26, Little 3-33) vs Ireland
Under cloudy skies and amid morning showers, the toss was delayed by two hours and 15 minutes, and play reduced to 42 overs a side. Another interruption during the Zimbabwe innings saw that cut further to 38 overs each.
In Little’s next over, he removed Regis Chakabva with a full ball on middle and off that beat his indecisive prod. Ervine and Wessley Madhevere put on the most productive partnership of the Zimbabwe innings with 59, and both looked in good control. Ervine was particularly confident on the sweep, and played the shot of the innings when he cleared the front leg to send Shaun Getkate over the deep square leg boundary for six.
Madhevere also tried to take Getkate on, but his attempt to slap him over the infield resulted in a tame catch to Paul Stirling at mid-on. That wicket sparked a collapse that saw Zimbabwe lose 8 for 57 either side of a rain break.
Zimbabwe’s other retiree, Sean Williams, played back to a full ball from McBrine and had his off stump pegged back to depart for four. McBrine also removed a well-set Ervine, who pushed forward defensively and edged to Lorcan Tucker. Three deliveries after Ervine’s dismissal, a light drizzle stopped play for 28 minutes and reduced the match even further. Zimbabwe, it turned out, were never intending to use all their overs.
Ireland’s next two wickets came through reviews: McBrine accounted for Luke Jongwe, confirmed leg before, and Little returned to take out Blessing Muzarabani, who drove away from his body and was caught behind. Richard Ngarava and Wellington Masakadza tried to bat out the overs, but Ngarava was bowled as he tried to pull Simi to end the innings with four overs to spare.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent