T20 World Cup 2022, R1, Group B, ZIM v IRE: Raza's 82, Muzarabani's 3-15 help Zimbabwe to 31-run win
ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022, Round 1, Group B, Zimbabwe v Ireland: Sinkandar Raza's 82, Blessing Muzarabani's 3-23 and Josh Little's 3-24 are top performances. Zimbabwe beat Ireland by 31 runs in Group B game at T20 World Cup.
Brief Scores: Zimbabwe 174/7 (Raza 82, Madhevere 22, Little 3/24) beat Ireland 143/9 (Campher 27, Dockrell 24, Muzarabani 3/23) by 31 runs
Player of the Match: Sikandar Raza (82 runs in 48 balls & 1/22)
In-form Zimbabwe, who have undergone a revamp under their coach Dave Houghton having won a T20I and One Day International (ODI) series over Bangladesh at home, besides beating Australia in an ODI last month, locked horns with Ireland, who have played 22 T20Is since the 2021 T20 World Cup, in a Group B game of the first round of the World Cup at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.
In head-to-head fixtures in this format, Ireland have won five games while Zimbabwe have earned victory in just three matches.
Confident Zimbabwe caught Ireland napping
It has been one of the best years in recent times for Zimbabwe in all formats of the game they have been part of. After beating Bangladesh at home few months ago in both the white-ball formats, they showed good performances against India before winning their first One Day International game in Australia against the hosts.
The confidence was evident in their first game in this World Cup. Even when they lost three wickets in the powerplay, they didn’t cage themselves. Sikandar Raza coming into the middle began to play his shots as did the batters who followed him to the crease. After posting a winning total, they picked up early wickets and their ground fielding was of top level.
Dominant Zimbabwe opened account with another top-notch performance
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie on winning the toss opted to bowl first. Tendai Chatara and Blessing Muzarabani were back in the side for Zimbabwe, while Ireland went in with three frontline seamers.
Put in to bat first, Zimbabwe didn’t begin well losing their first wicket on the very second ball of the game before being pushed to 79/4 at the halfway mark. In-form batter Sikandar Raza stitched up a great 58-run partnership with Milton Shumba to take his side to a safe place. Later with an 82-run knock in 48 deliveries, Raza propelled Zimbabwe to 174/7 in their 20 overs which is their highest score in T20 World Cups.
Just like Zimbabwe, Ireland didn’t begin well too losing their top four wickets to be reduced to 23/4 in the fourth over. After a little partnership between George Dockrell and Curtis Campher took them to 64/5 in the tenth over but regular wickets kept falling and eventually Ireland got cramped to 143/9 in 20 overs as Zimbabwe opened their account with a 31-run victory.
Let’s take a look at the top three performances from the game between Zimbabwe and Ireland in ICC T20 World Cup 2022.
Remarkable Raza displayed exceptional show with an 82-run knock
Zimbabwe didn’t have the greatest starts in the T20 World Cup, losing their first wicket on the second ball of the game and went on to find themselves at 37/3 in the sixth over when their rescue man Sikandar Raza made his way into the middle.
Raza kicked off in wild style as he earned his first boundary with a thumping pull towards the deep mid-wicket corridor before clearing his front leg to smash a six over the square leg fielder. The last ball of the over saw another flat six being skimmed over deep square leg. He muscled another boundary in the extra cover region before slapping Mark Adair for a boundary and maximum; Raza now has 20 runs in 10 balls against Adair in T20Is.
With a six clubbed over the mid-wicket fielder, the second highest run-scorer with 228 runs in the T20 World Cup qualifier 2022, celebrated his sixth T20I fifty in just 26 balls before driving another boundary two balls later. He used the short boundary to add another maximum to his account in the deep mid-wicket region.
Raza hit a 48-ball 82 with the help of five boundaries and as many as sixes. He now has 1122 T20I runs in 59 games propelled Zimbabwe to 174 in the end. Even with the ball in hand, he yorked out George Dockrell on 24 to finish with 1/22 in his three overs.
Muzarabani blessed Zimbabwe with 3/23
Blessing Muzarabani was missed by Zimbabwe in the past few months when the fast bowler was healing his injury, but making his comeback in the T20 World Cup 2022, he made a huge impact.
With his second ball of the evening, he found the edge of Ireland’s future star batter Harry Tector on 1 who without any feet movement drove the ball just to see the ball fly into the hands of Craig Ervine stationed at the slips.
Two balls later, Muzarabani almost with the same sort of delivery with little extra bounce found the edge of opponent captain Andrew Balbirnie (3) who staying back fiddled the ball to the slip fielder to see his team four down in the 4th over.
Coming back in the 16th over, Muzarabani with an off-speed full delivery caged Mark Adair (9) who chipped it straight to Raza at backward point as Blessing Muzarabani, who now has 33 T20I wickets in 27 games, finished with 3/23 in four overs.
Joshua Little made significant impact with 3/24
One of the main reasons for Ireland’s good bowling has been the 22-year-old Joshua Little who has been in excellent touch this year with 29 wickets in 20 T20Is.
The left-arm fast bowler with his second ball bounced out Regis Chakabva who gave a faint edge to the keeper to be dismissed for a two-ball duck. When he was again introduced in the fifth over of the innings, Little went short and bowled at the head of Wesley Madhevere who hooked the ball straight to backward square leg on 22.
Coming for his last over, he bagged his third wicket in the form of Ryan Burl who in an aim to go for a huge shot found the hands of the long on fielder as Josh Little, who now has 54 T20I wickets in 47 games, finished with 3/24 in his four overs.
ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 Points Table
What’s to Come
After a day’s break, Zimbabwe will meet West Indies, while Ireland will lock horns with Scotland. Both games will be played on October 19 at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart.