Andrew Balbirnie, in his 100th ODI innings, led Ireland to victory in the third and final one-day international at the Harare Sports Club, reaching their DLS target of 201 with seven wickets and a comfortable 13 balls to spare.
With Zimbabwe missing four of their five best players, the result should never have been in doubt but a third away ODI series victory was the perfect way to end a year when they failed to qualify for the 50-over World Cup.
In 2024 they have a T20 World Cup to look forward to, so the come from behind victory against the Africans last week will have given them just as much satisfaction.
For Balbirnie, it was also the perfect response to his golden duck in the second game on a ground where he started the year with a century. This innings was not as fluent – he had only seven singles in his first 20 balls and took 76 to reach his 16th ODI half-century - but after losing his third partner, Harry Tector, with 54 still required from nine overs, he hit Luke Jongwe for the his first six and third four in the same over.
Lorcan Tucker, dropped on nine, then hurried Ireland to victory with an undefeated 29 from 22 balls.
Earlier, Paul Stirling completed a miserable tour with the bat, caught behind for eight – his top score in five innings was 14 – but Curtis Campher, has hit the ground running in his new No 3 role and his 40 yesterday put Ireland on course for a fourth successive victory.
Ireland were without their bowling star from Friday after Josh Little picked up a ‘niggle’ in that match but Campher stood in for him as well and finished with his first four-wicket haul in an ODI. It was still not enough to get him man of the match - Balbirnie picked up that award – but he was rightly named player of the series.
With two run outs, the second of top scorer Joylord Gumbie after superb fielding by Andy McBrine, the other four wickets were taken by Graham Hume, also giving the Waringstown opening bowler his best ODI figures.
Unfortunately, Ireland must wait another three months before they have a chance to build on the series victories, when they face Afghanistan in the UAE.