Harare – Clive Madande hit a four off the final ball to give Zimbabwe a dramatic three-wicket win on the DLS method in a thrilling opening one-day international against Ireland at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
Chasing down the visitors’ 288-4, the hosts went into the final over needing 13 runs to win before Madande’s victory-clinching boundary.
Rain delayed the match with 18 overs of Zimbabwe’s innings remaining.
Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie hit 121 runs before retiring injured.
Wednesday’s encounter was the first match of a three-game ODI series in Zimbabwe, with the sides meeting again on Saturday. Zimbabwe won a T20 series between the teams 2-1 last week.
Zimbabwe won the toss, opted to field, and the decision paid off initially as openers Paul Stirling and Stephen Doheny were dismissed with 25 runs on the board.
The match then underwent a dramatic change as Balbirnie and Harry Tector, with 101 not out, put on 212 for the third wicket – 16 runs short of the Irish record.
Balbirnie faced 137 balls, hitting three sixes and 13 fours before being struck on the head by a Brad Evans delivery that forced him to quit.
Tector reached his century with a two off the fourth ball of the final over, with his total including one six and eight fours off 109 deliveries.
Fast medium pacer Victor Nyauchi was the best of the Zimbabwe bowlers, taking two wickets for 65 runs.
Ryan Burl brought up his fourth ODI half-century on his way to 59 in Zimbabwe’s rain-interrupted response, with Sikandar Raza contributing 43 runs and Craig Ervine 38, while Harare-born former England Test batsman Gary Ballance registered 23.
Mark Adair and Graham Hume both took two wickets for Ireland before the dramatic finish and Madande’s winning four.