Tour review

Ireland vs Zimbabwe, 2019

Ian Callender

One-day internationals (3): Ireland 3, Zimbabwe 0
Twenty20 internationals (3): Ireland 1, Zimbabwe 1

Ireland completed a clean sweep over a fellow Full Member for the first time, but after a 3-0 win in the one-day series and victory in the second Twenty20 match - the first was rained off - the Zimbabweans broke their duck in the final game of a tour overshadowed by political turmoil in Harare. Days after the squad returned home, Zimbabwe Cricket were suspended from the ICC because of government interference in their affairs. Zimbabwe were barred from ICC global events with immediate effect, and their funding was withdrawn. While the men's team were in Ireland, it was reported that they had not been paid; a women's tour, meant to be taking place alongside this one, was cancelled for financial reasons.

Ireland took full advantage of the turmoil, especially in the 50-over matches. Tim Murtagh defied the years to take nine wickets, including his first five-for in 20 seasons of List A cricket, and was well supported by the new generation: Mark Adair backed up the good impression he had made in the tri-series against Bangladesh and West Indies, while Shane Getkate made his ODI debut and took two wickets in each of the three games. James McCollum, after just 17 runs in his first five ODIs, justified the selectors' faith: he made two half-centuries, and finished with 148 runs. That was seven more than Paul Stirling, whose run of six successive one-day fifties ended when he was out for 32 in the third match.

Craig Ervine, who had formerly been a professional with Lisburn in Northern Ireland, was Zimbabwe's leading scorer, just ahead of Sean Williams. They were the visitors' only consistent batsmen - their unbroken stand of 111 clinched the final T20 game - although there were two promising innings from Ryan Burl down the order.

Stirling rattled up 83 in 10.5 overs to win the first of the T20 games to survive the weather. When he was out to the first ball of the last match, it gave a chance to Ireland's new middle order, mainly young talent from the interprovincial T20 tournament. Adair hit 38 off 15, while Getkate and Gareth Delany caught the eye. They were helped by Greg Thompson, who returned to Ireland colours for a third spell, 15 years after his debut, aged 16, against MCC.

© John Wisden & Co