Sikandar Raza, fast bowlers power Zimbabwe to victory over Ireland in T20 World Cup

Sikandar Raza starred with the bat and the fast bowlers came to the party as Zimbabwe powered to a 31-run victory over Ireland at the T20 World Cup in Hobart.

Zimbabwe scored 174-7 after being sent in at the Bellerive Oval, a stiff total that proved beyond Ireland as they finished on 143-9 at the end of their innings.

Raza hit five sixes and five fours in his decisive knock of 82 off just 48 balls after Zimbabwe were in early trouble at 37-3 in the sixth over.

It was Irish seamer Josh Little (3-24) who made early inroads to remove Regis Chakabva for a duck and also took the wicket of Wessly Madhevere (22).

Spinner Simi Singh continued the good work by nipping out veteran duo Sean Williams (12) and Craig Ervine (12) to leave the score at 79-4 at the 10-over mark.

Raza turned the equation in Zimbabwe's favour as they piled on a further 95 runs in the second half of the innings, racing to his half-century in 26 balls.

Having needed a strong start to give themselves a chance, Ireland crashed to 22-4 and effectively drifted to rank outsiders before the end of the powerplay.

Ireland mirrored their opponents in losing a wicket from their second ball, with big-hitting Paul Stirling cleaned up by Richard Ngarava (2-22), who picked off Lorcan Tucker in his next over.

Captain Andy Balbirnie and Harry Tector (11) both fell cheaply to Blessing Muzarabani, leaving too much for their team-mates to do.

The response lacked anything as substantial Raza's knock, with three scores of 20-plus but nothing more than Curtis Campher's steady 27.

Campher (27), George Dockrell (24) and Gareth Delany (24) made some inroads but the asking rate continued to climb and regular wickets stalled the momentum as the game played out to its inevitable conclusion.

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