Ireland 178 for 2 (Stirling 115*, Balbirnie 31) beat Zimbabwe 138 (Ervine 33, Burl 26, Adair 3-11) by 40 runs

Paul Stirling's first T20I hundred gave Ireland a 2-1 series lead and ensured Zimbabwe have still never successfully chased a T20I target greater than 172. Stirling scored almost two-thirds of Ireland's total runs and shared in two 50-plus partnerships to take Ireland to 178. Then, their attack, led by the returning Mark Adair, who missed the first two matches recovering from back spasms, and Josh Little ensured Zimbabwe were never in the hunt.

Adair bowled three one-over spells and took a wicket in each of them while only conceding 11 runs and made good use of the slower ball, Little's 3.2 overs cost 18 runs and the rest of the wickets were shared between Shaun Getkate, Ben White and a run-out. Perhaps Ireland's only disappointment was that their batting was so good it meant debutant William McClintock played no part in the game, apart from on the field. He may get another opportunity in less than 24 hours, though. The fourth match takes place at the same ground on Thursday.

Stirling's seventh heaven
A period of sublime form - it started with a match-winning knock in The Hundred final - has seen Stirling climb to seventh on the all-time T20I run-scorers' list. He controlled the innings from start to finish and set the tone when he slog-swept the fourth ball he faced over long-on for the first of eight sixes.

His was a knock of power and placement in equal measure. He opened the face of his bat at just the right moment to run Tendai Chatara to third man, saw off a maiden over by Richard Ngarava and then opened the hip to pull him for four, drove Ryan Burl through the covers and reached 50 off 47 balls with inside-out shot past point. He raced through his second fifty runs, using just 23 balls to get there, including three sixes in Chatara's final over. Stirling reached the 90s with a short-arm jab over midwicket, then hit Chatara back over his head, and finally punched a low full-toss to deep square to bring up his century. His celebration was muted, with just a bat tap into the ground and a small acknowledgement to his team-mates and the 500-strong crowd, but there's no doubt they will appreciate the magnitude of his achievement.

Stirling is the second Irish men's player to score a T20I hundred, the first to do so at home, and is joint-fourth on the list of most fifty-plus scores in T20Is, with David Warner and Martin Guptill - 19.

Where's Wessley?
Craig Ervine looked an in-control captain in the two matches before this one and has handled his bowlers with assurance but he might have considered doing things slightly differently today. With Tendai Chatara and Luke Jongwe leaking runs and pace off the ball proving useful, Wessley Madhevere's offspin could have been used for more than two overs, especially as he was Zimbabwe's most economical bowler. In Ervine's defence, Madhevere's spell came before Stirling started to accelerate and the captain may have defaulted to his more experienced players but Madhevere has given Zimbabwe an option to explore further in future. His domestic record is nothing to scoff at. In 20 T20s, Madhevere has bowled 32 overs and has an economy rate of 7.46.

Haven't you seen enough of him?
On cue, Ireland used an offspinner to open the bowling for them and it was someone Zimbabwe had seen more than enough of. Stirling, who batted through the Irish innings, was at the top of his mark as Zimbabwe's innings started. His first two deliveries were worked around for singles but then Madhevere got hold of him with three successive fours: two sweeps either side of a skip down the track to hit him over mid-off. Stirling's only over cost 14 runs and Zimbabwe were off to a good start but it didn't last.

Top-order problems
Madhevere only faced two more balls before he tried to hit Mark Adair over mid-off but sliced the ball straight to Andy Balbirnie in the covers and the problems began. Tadiwanashe Marumani, Regis Chakabva and Dion Meyers were dismissed within 21 balls of each other to leave Zimbabwe 56 for 4 inside eight overs and underline some serious problems in the top five. While Ireland have had five batters score 30-plus runs in the three matches in the series so far, Zimbabwe have only had two: Regis Chakabva in the first match and Craig Ervine in this one. Look a little deeper, and the gulf between the two sides becomes even more glaring. Ireland have scored one fifty (O'Brien in the second match) and one hundred (Stirling, today) while Zimbabwe have had no half-centuries in the series so far.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent