Ross Adair hopes he has proven to his new Ireland team-mates that they can have faith in him after his match-winning knock levelled the T20 series against Zimbabwe in Harare.
Playing only his second match, two days after his debut when he was out for five, he hit 65 from 47 balls as Ireland chased down their hosts total of 144 with five wickets and two balls to spare.
“Hopefully the lads know what I’m about now and will have a wee bit of faith in me moving forward,” said Adair. “With the initial nerves of my debut out of the way, I took my time for once and it paid off.”
The big-hitting CIYMS opener did not hit a boundary for 24 balls but five more, including four sixes followed in the next 22 before he was caught at long-on looking for back-to-back maximums.
There was a lot of running in the first 10 overs but I just needed to bid my time and the boundaries will come later in the innings,” he added.
Andrew Balbirnie actually scored 33 of the first 48 runs before he and Stephen Doheny were dismissed in quick succession but Adair found a great ally in Harry Tector who “talked me through the rest of my innings”.
Tector, showed no signs of the struggles he experienced in the recent T20 League in Nepal, and reverse swept his first ball for four on his way to 26 from 21 balls. Although he was out just nine runs from the winning post, George Dockrell won the match with the seventh six of the innings.
Graham Hume, who replaced Barry McCarthy in the only change from Thursday’s five wickets defeat, made an instant impression in only his third game, to finish with three for 17 and assure himself of a place in the deciding game of the series today.
Wicketless in his first two games, the Waringstown all-rounder – listed at No 11 in this Ireland batting line-up – needed to wait until the 16th over yesterday to claim his first wicket but it was the big one of skipper Craig Ervine for 42 and when he had the dangerous Ryan Burl caught behind two balls later, he had changed the force of the game.
Zimbabwe, who hit 54 off their six-over powerplay – Ireland managed only 35 – collapsed from 115 for four to 144 all out in the last five overs, with the help of two run outs and a first wicket for Mark Adair.
As Ross Adair put it: “That’s game done, give ourselves a pat on the back tonight but we want to come here tomorrow and win the series.”
Scores: Zimbabwe 144 (20 overs, C Ervine 42; G Hume 3-17, H Tector 2-22) Ireland 150-4 (19.4 overs, R Adair 65, A Balbirnie 33, H Tector 26; G Dockrell 15 not out). Ireland won by 6 wickets.