Zimbabwe clinched the one-day international series against Ireland with a three-wicket win led by Brendan Taylor’s 71 on Tuesday.
By winning the second match, Zimbabwe leads the series 2-0, with the third and last today at the same Harare Sports Club.
Taylor put on stands of 42 with Sean Williams (21) and 80 with Tatenda Taibu (41) to help Zimbabwe reach 239-7 in pursuit of Ireland’s 238-9 with seven balls remaining.
Zimbabwe had a mini collapse after Taylor was out, losing 3-18, but captain Elton Chigumbura and Graeme Creamer steered the hosts home.
“I’m happy we won, but are still leaving it too late,” Taylor said. “We are putting too much pressure on our captain. I feel we are letting ourselves down in the middle order.”
After Zimbabwe lost opener Hamilton Masakadza for 8, Taylor, Williams and Taibu showed their experience by keeping the scoreboard ticking with singles and waiting patiently for loose deliveries, mainly off the slow bowlers.
Taibu missed a George Dockrell straight ball to be bowled in the 33rd over, and three overs later Taylor was dismissed by Trent Johnston, shuffling across the line to be adjudged leg before wicket.
The pair’s demise saw Zimbabwe slump to 192-7, but Chigumbura, unbeaten on 32, and Graeme Cremer, 22 not out, couldn’t be shaken loose.
Ireland opening bowlers Johnston and Kevin O’Brien attacked with nagging accuracy to keep the batsmen in check, but they lacked support.
“We have to try to get the other bowlers bowl as good as the first two,” Ireland coach Phil Simmons said. “If you start well and then fail to consolidate then you have a problem.”
O’Brien was the pick of the bowlers with 2-33.
Earlier, O’Brien hit 73 not out and Paul Stirling made 52 in an Ireland total that was boosted by three last-over sixes by O’Brien off Ed Rainsford through long off. O’Brien’s innings spanned 102 balls and included three boundaries.
Prosper Utseya took 2-37 for Zimbabwe.