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 - who anchored the full 50-over innings despite being struck on the helmet by Ryan ten Doeschate - 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.
Balbirnie said he was struck fairly early in his innings - "I must have been on 30" - but continued batting and finished with 68 off 75 balls. But once he returned to the change room, things started to go wrong. "I didn't field. I obviously got hit in the head while I was batting. Didn't feel it that much batting. Came off. Sat down. Had a break, and then got a bit dizzy and a bit of blurred vision. So saw the doctor, did a concussion test, it was okay, but he wanted me to get a scan. Scan was clear so it's gradually got better as the day's gone on."
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, meanwhile, 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.