Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
THE efforts by the suspended Zimbabwe Cricket directors to overturn the decision by the Sports and Recreation Commission hit a brickwall on Thursday after the High Court of Zimbabwe dismissed with costs their urgent chamber application.
The suspended board members led by Tavengwa Mukuhlani and Sylvester Machaka had sought interim relief at the higher court following the decision by Sports Commission on June 21 to suspend the whole board, including acting managing director Givemore Makoni, for disregarding the directive to stop the association’s elective AGM held in Victoria Falls.
An interim board has been put in place by the Sports Commission to run the affairs of the association until a new election is held next year. However, the suspended ZC members have since filed an appeal at the Administrative Court, in accordance with the SRC Act. The matter is still to be acted upon.
The bickering between the Sports Commission and the suspended ZC board has already come at a cost after the International Cricket Council withheld funds for Zimbabwe until the matter was resolved at the global cricket governing body’s annual conference in England in a fortnight.
This has resulted in the national senior women’s team missing their tour of Ireland because of lack of funding. The ZC office staff and players have also missed their June pay date because funds have not been released by the ICC, who are set to determine whether the decision by the Sports Commission constitutes Government interference before coming up with their own stand on Zimbabwe’s membership.
ZC have been receiving monthly cash distributions from the ICC under a controlled funding mechanism agreed to last year to help manage the finances of the troubled association.
The suspended board members had hoped to get a reprieve at the higher court but High Court judge Justice Musekiwa dismissed their urgent chamber application because of “material non-disclosure” in the court papers.
“In light of the infractions I have highlighted, the matter is struck off with costs,” wrote Justice Musekiwa in the final determination.
Meanwhile, the men’s senior team continues to struggle on their European tour.
Zimbabwe lost an ODI series to an Associate member for the second time inside a month after falling to Ireland by five runs in their second match this week.
Things are not getting any better for the team which lost an ODI series 2-0 to the Netherlands two weeks ago. This was the first ODI series win for the Dutch over a full member.
And on Thursday, Ireland made their own record by securing a dramatic victory. It was also their first home series win against any side since 2014.
The architect of Ireland’s win was Tim Murtagh, who took his first five-wicket haul (5/21) in international cricket in his 57th ODI. In a chase of 242, the visiting side was reduced to 14/3 under five overs, thanks to Murtagh’s incisive first spell.
However, the Zimbabwe middle-order stabilised the innings with Craig Ervine, Sean Williams and Ryan Burl getting fifties to run the team close to the required total.
With three balls remaining, Zimbabwe needed only eight runs to win but Mark Adair kept this nerve to bowl a dot, dismiss Burl and give a single on the final ball to see his side over the line and ensure a thrilling victory.
Earlier in the day, after losing the toss and being sent in to bat, Ireland’s opening pair of Paul Stirling and James McCollum batted brilliantly to register a 111-run opening stand and lay a solid foundation.
Both openers hit half-centuries — McCollum’s first in ODIs and Stirling’s sixth consecutive fifty-plus score. Stirling also became the first Irishman to pass the 4000-run mark in one-day cricket for Ireland.
McCollum (73) persisted even after Stirling’s wicket but the Zimbabwe bowlers lead by Solomon Mire fought back as three wickets fell for just 14 runs and Ireland were struggling at 154/4 at one point.
Wickets fell at regular intervals and threatened to derail the Irish march but Lorcan Tucker’s mature innings of 56 ensured the home team had a decent total on board.
n Mire was the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe, finishing with figures of four for 43. He was ably assisted by Sikandar Raza (2/28), whose spin was too much to handle for the Irish batsmen as they struggled to score runs against him.
The third and final ODI of the series will be played in Belfast tomorrow.