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Match Report
Derek Scott

This was the "big" match of the tour, against the President's XI, at the "Lord's" of Zimbabwe, the Sports Club in Harare. ZCU wished Ireland to play at the Sports Club. With the Worcester and Glamorgan visits the match against Ireland had to be staged when it was. With 16.3 overs left the President's XI needed 88 to win with only four wickets in hand, when a frightening thunder and lightning storm ended the match. It it was a match of three declarations, and a loss of over one third of the second day due to rain did not help. The President's XI fielded seven full cap players led by Ali Shah Ireland left out N Nelson, O'Reilly, Nulty and Bailey. For Harrison it was his 50th cap and AN Nelson's first wicket was his 50th for Ireland.

Ireland's start was desperately slow. Neither Warke nor Rea could time the bowling of Dube and Crocker. After 11 overs the score was 13. Then Warke was dropped at slip off Crocker. A drinks break after an hour came with the score at 24-0 in 17 overs. Sharma and Rennie came on to bowl and at 26, Rea (10) was out caught low and right-handed at second slip by Goodwin off Shah. Two overs later Smyth flashed at a wide ball from Shah and was caught at the wicket. 28-2 in 23 overs. The next 10 overs up to lunch advanced the score by 19 and two more bowlers, Peall and Grant Flower were tried. The score at lunch, after 33 overs, was 47-2, Warke 29, Lewis 5.

The pace increased after lunch. Eight overs realised 36 runs, mostly to Lewis. Then, at 83, Warke's long and painful vigil ended when Peall bowled him for 41 off 123 balls. Dunlop did not last long. 12 were added. Crocker came back for Peall and his second ball had Dunlop caught at second slip for 7. 17 more overs were bowled up to tea with much switching of bowlers. Lewis and Patterson held firm and scored 57 runs, making 105 in all in the 34 over session. Lewis had reached 54 in 115 balls and Patterson, who had started slowly, was 31 in 65 balls. 152-4 at tea.

After tea with Rennie an offspinner Peall bowling, the Irish fifth wicket pair put on a further 32 in six overs, 22 of them to Lewis. At 184 Patterson was caught at the wicket off Rennie for 40 scored off 88 balls. With Harrison in the 200 came up in the 78th over. A drinks break came with the score on 218. This was the undoing of Lewis. Crocker came on and his first ball, a full toss, was skied to mid-off and Lewis was out for 96. This was scored in 217 minutes, off 165 balls, with one six and 8 fours. For his next over Crocker took a new ball, with the score at 225-6. Then Dube took a wicket with the first, third and fifth balls of the next over at which point the innings was declared closed at 225-9. Jackson top edged a pull to the wicket-keeper; Hoey was caught at first slip and McCrum LBW - leaving Harrison 14 not out in the 87th over of the innings. Dube had taken 3-27 in 10.5 overs; Crocker 2-17 in 14 and Sharma 2-27 in 16. The match was played on a 96 overs per day basis with subtractions four wickets lost (one over for every two wickets lost) and two overs for interval between the innings. In the time left McCrum and Nelson managed 4 overs to Bruk-Jackson and G Flower. The score at close of play was 7-0, Bruk-Jackson 4 and Flower 2.

By lunch on the second day the score had been advanced to 106-2 in 30 more overs and five Irish bowlers had been tried. Lewis, the partnership breaker (!) was first change and he did his job when Bruk-Jackson was caught at short leg in his second over. 46-1-31. Campbell, the hero of the Schools match, then came in. He greeted Hoey with a six but lost Flower with the score at 98 - run out for 43. Lunch came after 34 overs, with Campbell 23, James 4. There followed a loss of two hours, due to rain, before the match could be resumed.

McCrum and Nelson took up the attack after the resumption and bowled until a declaration came at 173-8 after a further 16.4 overs. In eight overs Campbell and James advanced the score by 38 to 144. At this point Dunlop caught James (19) at mid-off off the bowling of McCrum. Campbell fell at 153, bowled by McCrum in his next over. He had scored 51 off 81 deliveries. At 156-4 rain stopped play for 35 minutes. Then, in 4.4 overs, 4 more wickets fell, 2 to each bowler. Goodwin was caught by Jackson off McCrum for 9 (160-5). In the next over McCrum gave Nelson his 50th Irish wicket when he caught a skier from Shah at backward point (162-6). At 170 Jackson obliged again dismissing A Flower off Nelson. Next over Dunlop caught a looping catch at third man to get Peall and the President's XI declared 52 behind. McCrum's 4-60 in 19.4 overs was good bowling as he frequently beat the bat. In 10 overs to the close Warke (12) and Rea (10) increased the lead by 23.

Ireland had had a good second day and would now try to lay down a challenge to the Zimbabwe team. They succeeded very well. In 45 overs 164 runs were scored. 30 overs were bowled up to lunch when Ireland were 111-3 having added 88 to the overnight lead of 75. Warke and Rea brought up 50 in the 20th over. Then Warke was dropped and both he and Lewis were out in the space of seven balls. The first ball of Peall's third over of the day had Warke LBW (off a full toss). 54-1-26. Lewis was caught two balls later. Rea was dropped at slip when 20 but caught there off Shah when 28 and the total 72. Dunlop had an escape at the wicket when 8 but was 22 at lunch with Patterson 21.

15 more overs, all from Peall and Rennie, saw 76 runs added and 4 more wickets fall. Dunlop was LBW for 32 with the score on 125 and Smyth bowled nine runs later. Patterson had gone along steadily. He hit Peall for a six and was caught and bowled for 47 two balls later. He faced 86 deliveries. Jackson was soon out. Harrison hit Peall for a six and finished 22 not out off 26 balls. 187 had come, in all, in 55 overs.

The President's XI target was 240 in a minimum of 46 overs. In fact, 48 would have been bowled. The President's XI went at it but three wickets fell for 26. G Flower was caught for 5 with the total at 10 off Nelson in the second over. In the fourth Harrison ran out Bruk-Jackson at the bowler's end with half a wicket to aim at. 16-2-11. James was caught at the wicket off Nelson in the sixth over. 26-3-8. Tea was taken after 11 overs but the score had gone up to 45 with Goodwin 7 and Campbell 14. Hoey and Harrison bowled the spell up to the last hour and the start of the final minimum 20 overs. In these 17 overs 90 runs were scored to bring the score to 135 and maintain the rate on target.

Two more wickets fell. At 71 Goodwin (14) was brilliantly stumped on the leg side off a Hoey long hop and 85 Shah was also out to Hoey. This was a very good low catch at mid-wicket by McCrum. A Flower joined Campbell as the skies grew darker. They forged ahead scoring off most balls and adding 42 in seven overs. McCrum and Nelson came back for the last 20 overs as lightning grew nearer and nearer to the ground. Three overs yielded 15. Nelson began the fourth and Hoey caught a Flower skier behind the bowler. The heavens opened before Crocker could get in. Campbell was 75 not out off only 87 balls with 2 sixes and 3 fours, and he scored off 36 off his 87 deliveries. As long as he was in both teams had a chance. Nelson, in 6.3 overs, had taken 3-21