HARARE: Opener Ross Adair struck a brisk 65 as Ireland levelled a three-match Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe with a six-wicket victory in Harare on Saturday.
Zimbabwe made 144 with captain Craig Ervine top scoring on 42 and Ireland knocked off the runs with two balls to spare, setting up a series decider on Sunday.
Apart from Adair, fellow opener and skipper Andy Balbirnie (33) and Harry Tector (26) made significant contributions for the tourists.
A former Ulster rugby player, Adair faced 47 deliveries and struck four sixes and two fours at sun-drenched Harare Sports Club.
It was a huge change of fortunes for him as he made only five runs in his international debut on Thursday, with Zimbabwe winning by five wickets.
Adair departed after trying to clear long-on off left-arm quick Richard Ngarava, miscuing his shot and picking out Wessly Madhevere.
Balbirnie atoned for a poor showing in the first match with his runs coming off 31 balls in an innings that included a six and three fours.
When Adair departed, Ireland were 119-3 and needed 26 runs from four overs to win. Tector departed with nine still required before George Dockrell hit a six to secure victory.
Leg spinner Ryan Burl was the best of the Zimbabwe bowlers, taking two wickets for 26 runs in his four-over spell.
With former England Test batter Gary Ballance ruled out by concussion and star Sikandar Raza playing franchise cricket in Bangladesh, Ervine assumed the mantle of chief run-getter.
Put in to bat after losing the toss and one wicket down with just six runs on the board, Ervine took charge with his 40-ball innings, which included four fours.
He was undone when attempting a scoop shot off a back-of-a-length delivery from Graham Hume, top-edging it to fine leg where Tector made the catch.
South Africa-born Hume, promoted in place of Barry McCarthy, was the most effective of the Irish bowlers taking three for 17 while Tector took two for 22.