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09-Sep-2021 02:31:00 GMT
Ireland v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI, Belfast

Bowlers help Zimbabwe take series lead after clinical show

Zimbabwe 266 for 7 (Ervine 64, Raza 59*) beat Ireland 228 (Porterfield 75, Tector 50, Muzarabani 4-29) by 38 runs

Belfast: Ireland were defeated by 38 runs in the first of three one-day internationals against Zimbabwe at Stormont, Belfast on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe opener Brendon Taylor made 49 and skipper Craig Ervine hit 67 before Sikandar Raza's unbeaten 59 as the tourists posted 266-7.

Ireland started strongly with William Porterfield (75) and Harry Tector (50) helping the hosts to 163-2.

But the wickets began to tumble with Blessing Muzarabani taking 4-9 as the Irish were bowled out for 228.

The three matches are part of the World Cup Super League with Ireland winning just three of their 13 games so far.

World Cup hosts India and the top seven sides will qualify for the 2023 tournament, while the remaining five teams will vie for two places in a qualifying event.

Ireland won the toss but their decision to field first looked to have backfired when Taylor and Ervine ensured Zimbabwe made a good start.

The tourists reached 150-3 before Raza made his unbeaten 59 from 44 balls while all six Irish bowlers took a wicket.

Zimbabwe set a tough target but Ireland also made a promising start to their innings.

Porterfield and Paul Stirling (32) put 64 for the opening wicket and Tector's half-century helped the Belfast hosts to stay on course for victory.

But the Irish struggled after the dismissal of Porterfield with the last seven wickets falling for just 41 runs.

Blessing Muzarabani was best of the Zimbabwe bowlers while Wellington Masakadza (2-40) and Sean Williams (2-42) each took two wickets.

The sides will meet at the east Belfast venue again on Saturday for the second ODI.

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