Amy Hunter and Gaby Lewis sizzled with a 130-run, opening partnership to help Ireland post their fifth-highest total in women’s T20Is. Hunter began the innings with a bang, slamming a hat-trick of fours from the first three deliveries from Josephine Nkomo, who came into the game fresh off a four-wicket haul.

With Lewis joining hands, Ireland got off to a flyer, racing to 59/0 inside the Powerplay. Lewis was the first to make a half-century, reaching the landmark off 36 balls. Hunter joined her soon, taking 34 balls for her fifty. It was Kelis Ndhlovu who finally put an end to the opening partnership when she had Lewis caught out for a brilliant 47-ball 69.

Nkomo sent back Hunter for 71 in the 17th over, but the damage was already done, by then Ireland had already crossed the 150-run mark and eventually finished on 176/3 in their 20 overs.

In Zimbabwe’s reply, Ava Canning struck twice in the Powerplay, sending back Sharne Mayers and Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano cheaply to give Ireland an even stronger grip on the game.

Skipper, Mary-Anne Musonda and Modester Mupachikwa combined to lift Zimbabwe out of trouble and at the end of 10 overs, the team moved to 65/2. Laura Delany broke the stand with the wicket of Mupachikwa (27), but Musonda (48) held on for as long as she could, finishing just short of her own half-century.

Zimbabwe went on to lose their next four wickets in the space of 22 balls and eventually finished on 120/8. They have one win in three games and will need a big one in their final game to stand a chance of making it to the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, with two wins in two games, Ireland are at the top of Group B and are favourites to make the semis now.