Zimbabwe 254-9 (50 overs): Ervine 105, Burl 49*; Adair 4-73
Ireland 258-6 (48.3 overs): Balbirnie 101, Stirling 57; Chatara 3-36
Ireland won by four wickets
IRELAND beat Zimbabwe by four wickets at Bready in the first of three one-day internationals between the sides.
After being put in, Zimbabwe made 254-9 off their 50 overs, Craig Ervine scoring 105 and Ryan Burl 49 not out, while seamer Mark Adair took 4-73.
Ireland reached 258-6 in reply to win with nine balls to spare, Andrew Balbirnie top-scoring with 101 and Paul Stirling contributing 57.
Balbirnie and Stirling shared a second-wicket partnership of 105.
Northern Knights all-rounders Adair and Shane Getkate, who had taken 2-33, followed up their impressive bowling performances by ending unbeaten on 21 and 16 respectively.
Stirling’s fifth successive ODI half-century, an Irish record, had Ireland in control, before his dismissal left the hosts 133-2.
Ireland were then wavering at 150-4 in the 33rd over but Lorcan Tucker teamed up with Balbirnie to put on 64 for the fifth wicket and needing 26 off the final 28 balls, Getkate and Adair saw their side home.
Tendai Chatara was the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers with 3-36, with Kyle Jarvis taking 2-43.
Earlier in the day, after a delayed start because of rain, the tourists found themselves 20-2 in the sixth over, Adair removing opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe’s middle stump with his first ball and then Zimbabwe skipper, Hamilton Masakadza, for 15.
Ervine’s third ODI century, off 117 balls, helped move his side to 210-7 and when he departed 25-year-old middle order batsman Burl added momentum with 49 off 42 balls, including four sixes and three fours, 39 of his tally coming off his last 18 balls.
The sides will meet in two further one-day internationals at Stormont in Belfast tomorrow and Sunday, before playing three Twenty20 matches.
Zimbabwe pulled out of the women’s series, which was due to be played in parallel with the men’s fixtures, last week because of financial issues. — BBC Sport