Murtagh's Career Best Ireland, First Home Game Of The Series To Earn A Full-fledged Member Of The Team > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Murtagh's career-best gives Ireland first home series win over Full Member team
Tim Murtagh's maiden five-wicket haul helped Ireland clinch a thrilling five-run win over Zimbabwe in the second ODI at the Civil Service Cricket Club in Belfast on Thursday (July 4). The hosts have now taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series, with a game to go on Sunday. This also marks Ireland's first home series win over a Full Member team.
With Zimbabwe needing 15 runs off the last two overs, the 37-year-old Murtagh conceded just one run and also accounted for a wicket in to finish with figures of 10-1-21-5.
Chasing 243, Zimbabwe were off to the worst possible start as Murtagh removed captain Hamilton Masakadza in the very first over and then got Solomon Mire and Brendan Taylor off successive balls to reduce the visitors to 14 for 3. Craig Ervine and Sean Williams steadied the innings with a 56-run stand.
Sikandar Raza came out attacking and posed a serious threat to the hosts with a brisk 31, but Boyd Rankin's timely dismissal came in handy as Ireland gained the upper hand with Murtagh removing the set Williams, who recorded his 30th ODI fifty.
At 160 for 7 in the 34th over, Zimbabwe had an uphill task ahead but Ryan Burl dropped anchor and found good company in Donald Tiripano. The duo slowly moved along. They raised the fifty partnership in the 46th over and there was belief in the visitors' camp when Kevin O' Brien conceded 10 runs off the 48th over.
With the targer within reach and two set batsmen in the middle, Zimbabwe's chances increased, but Murtagh built pressure with two dots very early in the over and Tiripano fell prey as he missed a heave to become Murtagh's fifth victim.
Burl raised his maiden ODI fifty with a boundary off the third ball, but he missed the fourth ball and was run-out next ball trying to steal the second run. Eventually, Ireland completed the formalities as Tendai Chatara could only smash a ball along the ground to the man at deep mid-wicket.
Earlier, Ireland posted a modest total despite a great start with the bat as Solomon Mire bowled an inspiring middle-overs spell to help Zimbabwe restrict Ireland to 242 for 9.
After being asked to bat first, Paul Stirling and James McCollum saw off the new ball 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 Willaimson, 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.
Captain Hamilton Masakadza turned to Mire for part-time military medium pace as the regular bowlers could not get the breakthrough. The move worked wonders as Mire had Paul Stirling caught at mid-wicket. A while later he was on a hat-trick, dismissing Andy Balbirnie and James McCollum off successive balls. Pace off the ball did Kevin O' Brien in too and Mire had figures of 8-1-43-4.
It took a determined maiden ODI fifty from from 22-year-old Lorcan Tucker for Ireland to post what was slightly below par, yet, sufficient total.
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) beat Zimbabwe 237 for 9 (Sean Williams 58, Ryan Burl 53; Tim Murtagh 5 for 21, Shane Getkate 2 for 57) by 5 runs
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