Target's Mid-overs Magic Is Held Ireland Modest > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more

Cricket news - Mire's middle overs magic keeps Ireland modest

Stirling struck his sixth consecutive ODI half-century.

Solomon Mire bowled an inspiring middle-overs spell to help Zimbabwe restrict Ireland to a not-so-great 242 for 9 in the second ODI at the Civil Service Cricket Club ground in Belfast on Thursday (July 4).

After being asked to bat first, Paul Stirling and James McCollum saw off the new ball got the hosts off to a great start, raising the fifty partnership in the tenth over. Although not accounting for a wicket, Zimbabwe bowled disciplined lines as the duo milked the bowlers and crossed the 100-run mark in the 23rd over.

McCollum recorded his maiden ODI fifty in what was his seventh game, while Stirling too completed his fifty a ball later, thereby joining an elite list that has Javed Miandad, Gordon Greenidge, Andrew Jones, Mark Waugh, Mohammad Yousuf, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Chris Gayle, to become the eighth player to score six consecutive fifties in ODI cricket. The feat also helped him cross 4000 runs in the ODI format - the first Irish cricketer to get to the milestone.

Zimbabwe had already used five bowlers, but nothing yielded in the first 23 overs. Captain Hamilton Masakadza turned to Mire for part-time military medium pace and the move paid dividends immediately as lack of pace on the ball forced Stirling to mistime a pull shot straight to midwicket's hands. Nelson had done it for Zimbabwe.

After bowling a couple of quiet overs, Mire had Andy Balbirnie caught behind and was on a hat-trick when the set McCollum gifted his wicket to deep cover. Moments later, he did Kevin O'Brien through lack of pace as the all-rounder chipped an attempted punch-drive to the man the cover. From 111 for no loss, Ireland slumped to 154 for 4 - all the good work was undone.

Even the experienced William Porterfield could not put up a tough fight, but 22-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Lorcan Tucker showed good mettle and held one end tight. Wickets tumbled at the other end spinners Sikandar Raza (who was introduced only in the 35th over and bowled unchanged) and Sean Williams joined the party, sharing four wickets between them.

Tucker eventually brought up his maiden ODI fifty off 46 balls in the penultimate over as Ireland closed their innings out at 242 for 9 - a slightly below par total. Although the target is not big, the pitch assisted the cutters and Ireland would be keen on taking pace off the ball as the ball ages.

Brief scores: Ireland 242 for 9 (James McCollum 73, Lorcan Tucker 56, Paul Stirling 52; Solomon Mire 4 for 43, Sikandar Raza 2 for 28) vs Zimbabwe.

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