Story by Lawrence Trusida, Sport Editor
THE Zimbabwe national cricket side is set to take on Ireland in three T20 matches with the first encounter set for Thursday at Harare Sports Club.
Ireland has grown into a competitive side in recent years and are now a force to reckon with on the international cricket scene.
Last year, they beat England at the T20 World Cup as they continue with their steady rise in world cricket.
They are however set to meet their match with Zimbabwe on a recovery path, having fallen off the radar in recent years.
Zimbabwe has been doing well of late, beating Australia in their backyard before returning down under for the World Cup where they made the Super 12s for the first time in their history.
There is not much to separate the two teams in T20 cricket, but Ireland holds a slender 5-4 advantage over the Chevrons in the shortest format of the game.
The two sides have named strong teams for the T20s with the addition of Gary Ballance to the Chevrons squad a major coup.
It is however the absence of the inform Sikander Raza which could be an Achilles heel for the Chevrons.
Raza was granted permission to play in the T20 franchise league and the Irish have the same problem as Josh Little and Paul Stirling are also missing for the same reasons.
Zimbabwe will also miss premier bowler, Blessing Muzarabani, who is nursing an injury but in his place comes Victor Nyauchi, a man who can consider himself unlucky not to have gone to the World Cup after a good season.
Innocent Kaia and Tadiwanashe Marumani will also get a chance to prove their worth on the big stage after the omission of Regis Chakabva and Milton Shumba from the 15-man squad.
The first match is set for Harare Sports Club this Thursday, before the next two encounters on Saturday and Sunday at the same venue.
After the T20Is, the two teams will shift focus to the One Day Internationals.