Hitting a winning four from what was to be the last delivery of the game, the strike was not only meant to mark Zimbabwe’s series win but also the batsman’s unbeaten 101 off 122 with nine fours and two sixes.
Having won the first ODI on Friday by two wickets, it was Ervine’s 98-run third wicket partnership with Sean Williams that formed the Chevron’s platform for the win, after which Tino Mutombodzi and Sikandar Raza Butt kept the scoreboard ticking.
Raza Butt with a 29 ball 33 added weight and brought Zimbabwe closer to the win they so desperately needed.
After winning the toss, Zimbabwe elected to field first restricting Ireland to 268 for the loss of seven wickets in their allotted 50 overs but it was with good performances with the bat from the Irish that set a tough chase for the hosts.
But they were so fired up they did so with ease.
In the morning the Irish seemed to be on their way to levelling the series, as three of their batsmen managed half centuries but Raza Butt proved tough with the ball as he was responsible for three key scalps.
Paul Stirling’s 72 (off 77 with nine fours) up the order gave Ireland the belief they needed, Niall O’Brien’s 50 added weight to the Irish chances before Gary Wilson’s 65 off 55 put the visitors in a seemingly good position.
However, all rounder Raza Butt proved to be the pick of the bowlers yesterday as he finished with figures of 3-49 in his 10 overs, first taking care of Ed Joyce (17), and brought Stirling’s stay at the crease to the end before O’Brien became his third victim.
Tinashe Panyangara and Luke Jongwe got a wicket apiece, the former taking care of Kevin, the younger of the O’Brien brothers while the latter was responsible for giving Zimbabwe the early breakthrough they needed just in the eighth over.
Caught by Ervine off the bowling of Jongwe, Ireland captain William Porterfield was the first to take the long walk to the pavilion as Ireland were also unfortunate to lose two of their wickets to run-outs first Andy Balbirnie off Waller and Wilson off Wellington Masakadza.
Then it was Zimbabwe’s turn to occupy the crease.
Richmond Mutumbami (14 off 12) was the first to go as Ireland made an early breakthrough with Zimbabwe needing just three runs for the opening partnership to give Zimbabwe a 50 after he was caught by Porterfield off the bowling of Murtagh.
This was just before Chamunorwa Chibhabha followed suit in the next over and it looked as if the pressure was slowly beginning to mount on Zimbabwe.
But it was up to Ervine and Williams to steady the Zimbabwe ship, the duo occupying the crease for a long time, building a formidable partnership that not only gave the visitors much trouble, but frustrated the Irish bowl attack.
Kevin O’Brien with the ball, picked two wickets from Zimbabwe, first Chibhabha then Tinotenda Mutombodzi as John Mooney, Murtagh, and Andy McBrine each got a wicket.