Published On: Sun, Mar 4th, 2018

Ireland win big in rain-interrupted opener

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Ireland 268 for 7 (Balbirnie 68, N O’Brien 49, van der Gugten 3-59) beat Netherlands 149 (Murtagh 3-28, Rankin 2-19) by 93 runs (D/L method)

Ireland opened their World Cup qualifiers campaign with a 93-run win against Netherlands in a rain-affected game in Harare. After a fifty from Andy Balbirnie had anchored Ireland’s full 50-over innings, Netherlands fell nearly nine overs short of batting 41 overs in their hunt for a revised target of 243. Seamers Tim Murtagh and Boyd Rankin were Ireland’s most effective bowlers.

Ireland began with a series of contributions from their top order, most notably a 101-run stand for the fourth wicket between Balbirnie and Niall O’Brien. Their partnership followed stands of 59, 35 and 24 respectively for the first three wickets before Netherlands staged a comeback in the slog overs, picking up 4 for 49 in the last 7.2 overs.

Netherlands, however, did not find partnerships from their top order. Inside 16 overs, they’d lost five wickets and any chance of recovery was regularly thwarted by Ireland’s bowlers. Timm van der Gugten’s 33 off 25 at No. 9 was their most significant contribution as they folded for 149.

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