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Match Report
Derek Scott

After a rest day in the Radisson Hotel in Limavady playing golf the second match was played on Sunday at Eglinton. It was a match in stark contrast to the first one. Ireland won the toss again and for some unexplained reason decided to bat on a beige coloured pitch with some moisture and taking into account their success while fielding first at Stormont. The outcome was a score of 75 for six in the 20th over. There was a recovery led by Gillespie but the final score was 196 only 13 more than the first pair achieved at Stormont. Zimbabwe had little problem in winning by eight wickets in 40 overs.

Ireland were unchanged. but Zimbabwe recalled all five of their Test Match players. H. Streak captained the team and had with him his opening bowling partner, A Blignaut, S Carlisle, G Flower and R Price also came in to the exclusion of C Coventry, R Sims, S Ervine, T Friend and W Mwayenga. This made a huge difference as reflected in the result.

The day was warm but cloudy and the attendance was below expectation. Ireland's start was a disaster. Within 10 overs they were 36 for five - three wickets to Streak and two to Blignaut. All were caught, three by the wicket-keeper. The ball was seaming off the pitch and the Test match bowlers were too good for the Irish batsmen. This added emphasis to the decision to bat first.

The third ball of the match (Streak) was not too short but Molins tried to pull without foot movement and lobbed to mid-on. 0-1-0. The left handed Botha came in and all went well until over five (Streak). Botha cut the first four of the innings. Two balls later he followed what was a leg side wide and glanced to the wicket-keeper. 15-2-8. O'Brien's stay was short - four balls. Blignaut bowled two no-balls successively in his third over. He then changed to round the wicket. O'Brien chased a wide off-side lifter and was well caught, one handed, by Flower at second slip. 21-3-2.

Gillespie came next and was the mainstay of the innings, scoring 56 and being ninth out at 186. However he quickly lost Bray at 34 and McCallan at 35. The first ball of the ninth over (Streak) had Bray caught at the wicket which seemed to surprise him. 34-4-9. In Blignaut's next over McCallan suffered a similar fate from a ball that moved away off the pitch, 36-5-1. Joyce joined Gillespie and a recovery began. It was helped by Streak (three for 16 in seven overs) and Blignaut (two for 32 in six) going off for Brent and Hondo. 50 was up in over 14 and there had been a splendid cover drive for four by Joyce. Joyce was nearly caught right handed by the wicket- keeper in over 16 and celebrated by taking 10 off Hondo's next over. Two overs later Joyce square cut and on drove Hondo for successive fours but was out two balls later. He drove low, but in the air, to deep mid-off and a promising innings ended. His 29 came off only 32 balls. 75-6-29.

White joined Gillespie in a 37 run stand which lasted just more than 12 overs. Price came on with slow left arm and Gillespie hit him back over his head for four. White swept a four in Price's next over and Gillespie pulled a six in the 26th over (Brent). Marillier (off spin) replaced Brent for the 30th over and 100 came up with a wide. Then, in the 32nd over, another wicket fell - to a run out. White drove to short extra cover and took off too soon. Sent back he could not beat a brilliant throw. 112-7-14.

In came Mooney and a stand of 62 in 77 balls came about and it was by far the best of the innings. Both batsmen were careful at first and only 25 came in eight overs. Mooney was dropped at slip when four off Hondo. Mooney hit Marillier for a straight six in over 40 and 11 came off the over. Streak, returned for over 42, to finish his 10 over stint with Price and Hondo sharing the other end. Streak posted three slips!

Streak was bowling at the end opposite to that at which he started. 150 had come in over 41 and Gillespie went to his ninth International half century in over 43. The batsmen could not get a "big" over going. There were eight in the 41st, four in 42nd, five in 43rd and three in 44th. Then Mooney swept Price for a six to mid-wicket and was caught at mid-wicket two balls later. 174-8-31. Over 46, Streak's last, brought five "dot" balls, an Armstrong six over extra cover and an injury to wicket-keeper Taibu. The latter went off and Ebrahim took over.

Hondo returned for over 47 and ended Gillespie's fine innings. He drove at Hondo, snicked and was caught by the substitute wicket-keeper. He had made 56 from 109 balls with a six and five fours. He played very well when it was most required. Gillespie's nine scores over 50 equals that of Molins and McCallan in this particular team. The last pair managed 10 before Neely was caught and bowled by Hondo with eight balls remaining.

Zimbabwe took three hours and forty minutes to bowl 49 overs - a slow rate. Brent bowled nine overs for 15 but the star was Streak with three for 29 in 10 overs. Zimbabwe made light of scoring 197 to win. They scored at an average of five per over and were home in the 41st over. When the Irish field could spread after 15 overs the score was 62 for one (Marillier). This was doubled (134) after 30 overs in which over Carlisle was out and was the last wicket to fall. 10 overs later Ebrahim and Flower had hit 65 more runs to win the match. Ireland used six bowlers. The wicket takers, one each, were Mooney and White. None of the six bowled 10 overs and only Mooney and Botha could keep their economy rate at four runs per over.

Mooney and Neely began with with two slips to Marillier and Ebrahim. Marillier had been bowled for nought by Mooney at Stormont. He scored a two off his second ball but that was his only score when he was dropped at square leg off Neely in the fourth over. It was a mis pull hard to White's left. The lesser paced Mooney and Neely could not make the ball seam off the pitch as did Streak and Blignaut. After eight overs the score was 26. Then Botha bowled two overs in place of Mooney. They went for 16 including three fours, one of them an inside edge by Marillier. A pull to square leg by Ebrahim off Neely brought up 52 in the 12th over.

Then White came on for Botha and got a wicket with his first ball. Marillier pulled a short ball to Molins fairly close at mid-wicket. 52-1-23. Carlisle played out the rest of the over without scoring. Botha changed ends and bowled two more overs, still with two slips, for six runs before McCallan was tried. The score was 78 in 20 overs. White had bowled four overs for 14 but then Ebrahim hit a full toss for four to mid-wicket followed by another to wide long on. Armstrong replaced McCallan who changed ends in place of White (6 overs for 29). In five overs (21 to 25) a six and six fours were struck. The six came, a hook by Carlisle, in the 25th over - McCallan's first after changing ends. The half way, 25 overs, score was 117.

A single by Ebrahim the 26th over brought him to 50 out of 118 from 78 balls. He had made 52 at Stormont two days previously and looked a positive attacking player. Armstrong bowled three overs for 19 and was replaced for the 30th over by Mooney. Again the first ball did the trick. Carlisle played it back at Mooney who made a good, right handed catch. Carlisle made 49 from 61 balls and had added 82 with Ebrahim in 16 overs. Carlisle had received 61 balls to Ebrahim's 42 in the stand. Grant Flower came in and straight drove a four at the end of this over.

There was then a quiet period for five overs. After 35 overs the score was 159. Then Flower and Ebrahim decided to up the rate. In five more overs shared by Neely (two), Botha, McCallan and White (one each) 40 runs were scored. Included were five fours and a six hit by Ebrahim over long-on off White. The final four to Flower ended the match with the first ball of the 41st over.

Flower's 31 came from only 36 balls with five fours. Ebrahim added 81 not out to his previous 52 at Stormont. He hit a six and nine fours in his 121 balls. Zimbabwe asserted themselves after the humiliation of Stormont.

The Pressmen gave Ebrahim, for his 81*, the champagne as Man-of-the Match.

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