Post Zimbabwe's thrilling three-run win over Ireland in the first T20I, Craig Ervine stated that his team came out with a lot of energy and fire to defend 118 runs. On the other hand, Andrew Balbirnie was disappointed with his team's performance and felt they weren't good enough with the bat.
The T20I series opener between Ireland and Zimbabwe went right down to the wire with pacer Richard Ngarava defending six off the final over to hand the tourists a 1-0 lead in the five-match series. Zimbabwe got off to a poor start as they lost their openers Tadiwanashe Marumani and Wesley Madhevere inside the first three overs. However, wicketkeeper-batsman Regis Chakabva (47) resurrected Zimbabwe's innings before they stumbled from 73-3 to 117/7 at the end of the 20th over.
Paul Stirling (24) and Kevin O Brien (25) started solidly for Ireland, but the hosts too, lost the plot in the middle overs, going down from 65/2 to 88/7. Simi Singh (28) provided a ray of hope but couldn't quite get his side past the finishing line as Ngarava conceded just two singles while defending six in the final over.
Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine was delighted with the narrow win and admitted that the score of 117 was below-par, while praising the bowlers for their effort.
"After the first half, we had only 118 and I thought we were under par. But the boys came out with fire and energy to defend the total. The surface was tricky, some kept low and some bounced, it was difficult to score. He (Chakabva) had the innings together and his contribution got us over the line. We have got a young bunch of guys and the energy comes from that. All the spinners bowled well, but having a leg spinner, they can go for runs but Ryan bowled well today," Ervine stated in the post-match presentation.
Andrew Balbirnie meanwhile, rued the batting failure after the bowlers had put on a highly disciplined show.
"Very disappointed. Not good enough with the bat. Started tentatively and got into a run a ball situation. We back ourselves to get that sort of total but we never got a grip of it. Have to reassess and go again on Sunday. Bowling and fielding was pretty good. They were economical and took wickets at different stages. We should be chasing 118 no matter the surface. It's a long series, hopefully we can come back on Sunday with different plans," Balbirnie reckoned.
The second T20I between Zimbabwe and Ireland will take place on Sunday, August 29 at the same venue.