Ireland Women – 312-3 in 50 overs (Amy Hunter 121 *, Gaby Lewis 78, Laura Delany 68; Josephine Nkomo 1/45, Loryn Phiri 1/51, Esther Mbofana 1/61)
Zimbabwean women – 227-8 in 50 over (Josephine Nkomo 66, Ashley Ndiraya 38, Mary-Anne Musonda 36; Laura Delany 2/32, Sophie McMahon 2/34, Jane Maguire 1/24)
Women’s Ireland won by 85 points
Ireland women’s batter Amy Hunter became the youngest player in the world to score an ODI century, hitting 121 not out on her 16th birthday as she inspired her team to an 85-point victory over Zimbabwean women all ‘Harare Sports Club Monday.
With the result, the tourists ended the four-game series with three wins to one.
The Zimbabwean women won the draw again and decided to field.
The Irish opener of Leah Paul and Gaby Lewis started their innings confidently and consistently, with the latter the more fluent of the two.
They raised the score to 40 in the ninth over before Paul (12) was hit by Esther Mbofana.
Along with Hunter, Lewis batted with greater confidence and ran to his fifty on 51 balls, which he celebrated with the top six of the series, beating Tasmeen Granger.
This was right after the team of hundred made it into the 21st over.
It looked like Lewis was determined to mark the century she just lost on Saturday, but when she hit 78 she was captured and thrown by Loryn Phiri.
He faced 86 balls and hit 10 fours and a six and after his dismissal the score was now 144 for two wickets in the 28th over.
Hunter was playing his first major inning of the tour, and reached his fifty out of 64 deliveries, in the company of captain, Laura Delany.
This was to demonstrate a killer partnership from the home team’s point of view, as the pair completely dominated bowling to put together 143 in 18 overs for the third wicket.
Hunter reached her century with 110 balls, and Delany soon followed her with her fifty with only 44 balls.
The partnership was only broken in the 47th over, when Mary-Anne Musonda finally took Nkomo bowling to sack Delany for 68, scoring 53 balls.
There were just 11 points missing from the Irish partnership record for third wicket and the score was now 287 for three wickets.
The 300 was soon surpassed and innings eventually closed after 50 overs at 312 for three, which is a new total record for the Irish women’s team, surpassing 309 for two wickets scored against Dutch women in 2005.
Hunter’s final score of 121 didn’t come off 127 balls, with eight fours, as he broke the record previously held by India’s Mithali Raj, who scored 114 nons against Ireland Women at age 16 and 205. days in June 1999.
Her wonderful effort is also a new record for Irish women, ahead of Karen Young’s 120 against Pakistani women in 2000.
Orla Prendergast wasn’t out with 12 out of 10 balls when the inning ended.
All of the Zimbabwe Women’s bowlers suffered at the hands of the visitors, with Nkomo being the cheapest as she took a wicket for 45 runs in her 10 overs.
Faced with a practically impossible goal, Modester Mupachikwa was soon caught at the wicket for two over Jane Maguire in the second over of the innings, the score being four.
However, Ashley Ndiraya, restored to her old opening hitter position, and Nkomo, who was given a chance at the top of the order, continued to display wonderful fighting spirit as they challenged the Irish pitchers and yet continued to run fairly freely as he brought the score to exactly 100 with no further losses in the 25th over.
At this point Ndiraya was finally awarded for 38, scored 55 balls, caught by Celeste Raack to finish a priceless inning.
Nkomo shortly thereafter reached his second fifty of the series out 83 balls, with Musonda as his new partner.
This proved to be another useful position, as they raised the score to 139 in the 31st over before Nkomo was busted by Cara Murray for 66.
Chiedza Dhururu, the former opening hitter, has not yet been able to find her form today as she struggled to score four points out of 24 balls before being thrown by Delany.
Musonda had batted well and fluently, but in the next, 39th, she was caught by Delany off Sophie MacMahon for 36, scored 33 balls and the score was now 170 for five wickets.
Precious Marange was soon eliminated for one, caught by Delany – 178 for six, making him three wickets fewer in three overs.
Nyasha Gwanzura led a recovery for a while, scoring a lively 25 of 26 and taking the score over 200 in the 45th before being pitched by MacMahon to 204 for seven.
Her partner was Granger, who followed her into the next over, thrown by Paul, for 18 off 19 balls; 212 by eight.
Audrey Mazvishaya and Loryn Phiri then successfully played the rest of the innings, so the total ended up at 227 for eight wickets, giving the Irish women’s victory by a margin of 85 points.
ZC Chronicle of the match
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