Zimbabwe v Ireland, 1st ODI, Harare September 26, 2010

Zimbabwe edge low-scoring thriller

ESPNcricinfo staff
30

Zimbabwe 206 for 8 (Taibu 62, Chigumbura 41, Dockrell 3-27) beat Ireland 200 (Wilson 69, White 47, Rainsford 4-23) by two wickets
Scorecard

Ed Rainsford was Zimbabwe's hero as they squeaked home with a last-ball, two-wicket win in the first one-day international at Harare Sports Club. Chasing 201, the home side needed six runs from the final over and managed to draw level with some frantic running before Rainsford clubbed the last ball from Kevin O'Brien - a full toss - over long leg for six to seal the match. Rainsford had also come to the fore with the ball, nipping out three top-order wickets and returning to take a fourth as Ireland were bowled out in the 48th over, and was deservedly named Man of the Match for his efforts.

Ireland were undoubtedly 30 to 40 runs short after being put in by home captain Elton Chigumbura, but they rallied with the ball and the Zimbabwean batsmen were on the defensive from the moment Hamilton Masakadza was nipped out first ball by O'Brien. Tatenda Taibu's 15th ODI half-century kept Zimbabwe on course, but when he was dismissed by Trent Johnston for 62 the momentum swung back to Ireland .

When Charles Coventry was run out in the 43rd over Zimbabwe still needed 48, with Chigumbura the last recognised batsman at the crease. He responded with a calm knock under pressure, brushing off the loss of Prosper Utseya with a straight six - the first of the innings - in the 48th over to reduce the runs still required to under 20. But when he slapped a full-toss from Trent Johnston straight to John Mooney at long-on one over later Ireland were back on top, as Graeme Cremer was joined at the crease by Rainsford with only Chris Mpofu still to come.

Either batsman could have been run out off the last ball of the 49th over, but Will Porterfield's throw was wide and amid further frenzied running in the last six balls there was a moment of controversy.

The Irish were convinced a diving Rainsford had been caught short of his ground when Niall O'Brien whipped the bails off as the batsmen pushed for a tight second run from the penultimate ball. But umpire Amiesh Saheba ruled Rainsford safe, and with the scores level a repeat of the two sides' tied encounter at the 2007 World Cup was a distinct possibility. But Rainsford responded to the pressure with the first international six of his career to seal Zimbabwe's win in the first of a three-match one-day series.

Rainsford had also played a leading role in the field, taking a career-best 4 for 23 as Ireland were dismissed with 15 balls still remaining in their innings. He was on a hat-trick in his first over when Porterfield and the elder O'Brien were removed in consecutive balls, and though Niall's younger brother Kevin survived his first ball Rainsford and his new-ball partner, Mpofu, kept up the pressure and Ireland's top four had been sent back before the end of the 10th over.

Andrew White and Gary Wilson averted disaster with a 115-run stand for the fifth wicket before both were removed by legspinner Graeme Cremer to stall Ireland's charge at the end of their innings. Mooney and Johnston swung merrily, but when Zimbabwe's opening pair returned the lower order folded quickly and Masakadza then closed the innings when he had George Dockrell caught by Coventry.

To their credit, Ireland fought back well in the field and the 18-year-old Dockrell put Zimbabwe under real pressure with 3 for 27 in 10 overs of guileful left-arm spin. In the event, Zimbabwe had just enough in the tank to squeeze past the visitors, and though they will take an important 1-0 lead in the series the signs suggest that the next two games should be closely-fought encounters.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sportsscientist on September 29, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    Ramesh - I was actually not disagreeing with you. I think that maybe because I said "people from the sub-continent don'r understand how the regulations affect ireland" you may have assumed I was taking a swipe at you. That was not the case. I just know that they do have a rough deal with regards to the UK residency rules affecting some players born in scotland & Northen ireland, or who's parents were born in the UK, disadvantage scotland and ireland, and give england as the only test nation and advantage. Some bangladeshi fans were comparing this to the ICL senario, and I disagreed.

    Personally, I feel that ireland & bangladesh both deserve test status, but ICC should help ireland set up a 3/4 1st class programme first. Also they should find ways to fast track Kenya, canada, holland and other associates to done the same. The more test nations, the better for everyone. Rather than setting up nations against each other, why don't the ICC help more nations get to test level???

  • eire on September 27, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    @Migara who won the last game btwn ireland n afghanastan?ireland were missin 5/6 of their frontline players not including joyce/marshall in that match.Afghan beat ire when we r totally out of form n ye r a v good team. The afghan story is wonderful for the game. I think why peep get excited by ire is that any player of immense talent we have gets drafted to our more illustrious neighbours and we need protection frm the ICC but does not seem forthcoming at the moment. In fact the opposite is true with their joke of a proposal for the 2015 world cup. @Firai Anderson Ireland r missing Rankin, Cusack, Joyce, Morgan, Botha & MArshall from our side. So i thinkk the same thing goes for ireland as Zim when it comes the amount of poten players missing

  • on September 27, 2010, 21:48 GMT

    @ Migara, Ireland have proven for years they are the best Associate country out there, you can bring Afghanistan into this if you wish, but Afghanistan beat Ireland in a warm up game with little counting on it, and the results between the two countries is quite close if I'm correct,

    I'd be happy to wager a lot on Ireland beating them again when it counted,

    and this is not an attack on Afghanistan, they have shown they are getting better, but people comparing them to Ireland I think is unfair, wait till they have done what Ireland have done at the associate level and at the World Cup's then we can talk,

    anyways Migara this is just what I think, and you are entitled to your opinion also :),

    I just like to see the big boys opening their playing fields to smaller teams and helping make Cricket better for everyone...

  • Migara on September 27, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    All the people getting very excited about IRE. But remember that Afgans have been beating IRE for fun these days. Even India would take Hamid Hasan of AFG! I think both IRE and AFG should be granted test status and let Afgans play their home matches in India.

  • on September 27, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    the only pple talking sense are dashee and L.Pearce. Yes Zim won but with two games coming they are going to get better. and also the main point is to win. many teams have pushed other teams but winning is all it's about. and yes Vusi is playing crap and think he will be dropped for tomorrow. and i don't know what you are saying about if the irishe had this and that. remember blignaut, lamb and price were not playing. and i still stick to my point that shingi masakadza is not yet good enough for ODI's just like kyle jarvis. Yes they have talent but they are still reckless sometimes

  • dashee on September 27, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    hahaahah come on guys yoyu think ireland have a chance aganist Zim?? wat happened yesterday was a mistake you will see when Zim is in full form and you understand wat I mean, coz Zim is way too strong for Ireland :)

  • Anti-ZCAdmin on September 27, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Well the match was a big theiller l hope the series wil remain interistin. bt i wasnt happy with Zim perfmnce and i thik we were a bowler shoet

  • on September 27, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    Good game - Ireland needed more runs. Whatever you think of the relative merits of Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh etc, can we all agree that Ireland or the other top associates deserve to be at the World Cup? ICC want to stop it. Ireland got to the Super Eights in 2 of the last 3 ICC tournaments. Sign the petition to keep cricket worldwide and not a cosy 10 member club - http://www.cricketeurope4.net/PETITION/index.shtml

  • on September 27, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Why all the three matches to be played in Harare; Zim Cricket should learn from South Africa, matches should be distributed around all the venues; Bulawayo fans have been starved of matches; especially these so called three ODI series, Queens Sports Club boasts of one of the best turf in the world!!!!

  • on September 27, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    No one is interested in Zimbabwe (expect the vote they bring to the table). Even olanga has buried his hatchet against the Mugabe/Chinese regime.

  • Sportsscientist on September 29, 2010, 20:05 GMT

    Ramesh - I was actually not disagreeing with you. I think that maybe because I said "people from the sub-continent don'r understand how the regulations affect ireland" you may have assumed I was taking a swipe at you. That was not the case. I just know that they do have a rough deal with regards to the UK residency rules affecting some players born in scotland & Northen ireland, or who's parents were born in the UK, disadvantage scotland and ireland, and give england as the only test nation and advantage. Some bangladeshi fans were comparing this to the ICL senario, and I disagreed.

    Personally, I feel that ireland & bangladesh both deserve test status, but ICC should help ireland set up a 3/4 1st class programme first. Also they should find ways to fast track Kenya, canada, holland and other associates to done the same. The more test nations, the better for everyone. Rather than setting up nations against each other, why don't the ICC help more nations get to test level???

  • eire on September 27, 2010, 22:22 GMT

    @Migara who won the last game btwn ireland n afghanastan?ireland were missin 5/6 of their frontline players not including joyce/marshall in that match.Afghan beat ire when we r totally out of form n ye r a v good team. The afghan story is wonderful for the game. I think why peep get excited by ire is that any player of immense talent we have gets drafted to our more illustrious neighbours and we need protection frm the ICC but does not seem forthcoming at the moment. In fact the opposite is true with their joke of a proposal for the 2015 world cup. @Firai Anderson Ireland r missing Rankin, Cusack, Joyce, Morgan, Botha & MArshall from our side. So i thinkk the same thing goes for ireland as Zim when it comes the amount of poten players missing

  • on September 27, 2010, 21:48 GMT

    @ Migara, Ireland have proven for years they are the best Associate country out there, you can bring Afghanistan into this if you wish, but Afghanistan beat Ireland in a warm up game with little counting on it, and the results between the two countries is quite close if I'm correct,

    I'd be happy to wager a lot on Ireland beating them again when it counted,

    and this is not an attack on Afghanistan, they have shown they are getting better, but people comparing them to Ireland I think is unfair, wait till they have done what Ireland have done at the associate level and at the World Cup's then we can talk,

    anyways Migara this is just what I think, and you are entitled to your opinion also :),

    I just like to see the big boys opening their playing fields to smaller teams and helping make Cricket better for everyone...

  • Migara on September 27, 2010, 18:09 GMT

    All the people getting very excited about IRE. But remember that Afgans have been beating IRE for fun these days. Even India would take Hamid Hasan of AFG! I think both IRE and AFG should be granted test status and let Afgans play their home matches in India.

  • on September 27, 2010, 18:05 GMT

    the only pple talking sense are dashee and L.Pearce. Yes Zim won but with two games coming they are going to get better. and also the main point is to win. many teams have pushed other teams but winning is all it's about. and yes Vusi is playing crap and think he will be dropped for tomorrow. and i don't know what you are saying about if the irishe had this and that. remember blignaut, lamb and price were not playing. and i still stick to my point that shingi masakadza is not yet good enough for ODI's just like kyle jarvis. Yes they have talent but they are still reckless sometimes

  • dashee on September 27, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    hahaahah come on guys yoyu think ireland have a chance aganist Zim?? wat happened yesterday was a mistake you will see when Zim is in full form and you understand wat I mean, coz Zim is way too strong for Ireland :)

  • Anti-ZCAdmin on September 27, 2010, 15:28 GMT

    Well the match was a big theiller l hope the series wil remain interistin. bt i wasnt happy with Zim perfmnce and i thik we were a bowler shoet

  • on September 27, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    Good game - Ireland needed more runs. Whatever you think of the relative merits of Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh etc, can we all agree that Ireland or the other top associates deserve to be at the World Cup? ICC want to stop it. Ireland got to the Super Eights in 2 of the last 3 ICC tournaments. Sign the petition to keep cricket worldwide and not a cosy 10 member club - http://www.cricketeurope4.net/PETITION/index.shtml

  • on September 27, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Why all the three matches to be played in Harare; Zim Cricket should learn from South Africa, matches should be distributed around all the venues; Bulawayo fans have been starved of matches; especially these so called three ODI series, Queens Sports Club boasts of one of the best turf in the world!!!!

  • on September 27, 2010, 13:23 GMT

    No one is interested in Zimbabwe (expect the vote they bring to the table). Even olanga has buried his hatchet against the Mugabe/Chinese regime.

  • CaptainTrent on September 27, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    I think when Ireland gets Ed Joyce back and gains Hamish Marshall in the team it will make a much stronger team, and if we can keep Dockrell and Rankin and Stirling and Porterfield and so on it can only help us big time,

    the game was very close and a lot of people report that Rainsford was lucky to be there, he should have been run out before he got those runs, so it could have been closer again,

    either way I think this is going to be a good contest for the rest of the games, maybe ending 2-1 to Ireland...

  • eire on September 27, 2010, 8:36 GMT

    @edson ireland wud have been v close or in the intercontinental final but rain denied them victory against kenya & scotland, thus the lost out on 22 points & scotland would have had 3 less in there total.

  • milwardk on September 27, 2010, 7:37 GMT

    Well i was following the match from home. i really enjoyed the match and was a nail biting finish for sure. I was really impressed with the way Ireland played. 200 seamed an easy target but Zim somehow struggled. i hope Zim will up their game as it now have a number of experienced guys now. Back to the Continental cup i think the British government should stop interfering with sport. Scotland should have been allowed to fulfill their fixture in Harare in October because it is Scotland that will benefit more as Zim is using a developmental side ZimXI while Scotland uses their first team. i dont mind Zim forfeiting the match. GO ZIM GO

  • L.Pearce on September 27, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    fed up with hearing about UK politics, IRE test status, player poaching so on so forth talk about the game of cricket! ZIM v IRE. Rainsford and Mpofu started briliantly, Rainsford superb, Mpofu much improved showing his ability hopeful with consistency, Utesya solid, Cremer very good job, ?marks for the bits and pieces bowlers, Elton should focus on batting, Disappointed with no Price, Hamilton flopped again ability over consistency, Taibu solid, Taylor Ervine Coventry starts, Elton consistent 40 odd above run a ball, Lower order scraped home. ZIM lucky but close griniding contest tense finish, more consistency from ZIM, bowlers combination working 2 seam 2 spin + bits/pieces, batting....??? Sibanda must go, Lamb would complete capable batsmen/perfect 5th bowler. 1 down 2 to go then SA, team structure??? crucial combinations/roles. OPEN Hamilton,Taylor MIDDLE 3-7 Taibu,Ervine,Coventry,Lamb,Elton BOWLERS Cremer,Price,Utseya,Rainsford,Mpofu,Shingirai - 2 seam 2spin ...TBC...

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 27, 2010, 3:34 GMT

    Bangladesh won one against Zimbabwe team boycotted by their players and the same against W I. Just play Bangladesh against WI of 1980 - 90 I am so called batsman of class will forfiet batting. Wahatever it is Ireland Zimbabwe and Bangladesh must improve to make cricket more competitive. There is great chance to make Cricket the most popular sport in Ireland if it is tapped at the right time. Sad to know the status of Kenya . Infact Namibia and Uganda has got good structure and must be encouraged.

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 27, 2010, 3:28 GMT

    @Meety, I can understand you sympathize with Bangladesh team and rightfully so. They do need plenty of support. It would be great for world cricket to have a strong Bangladesh team.However to say they are strong just because they trashed Zimbabwe before they Zimbabwe themselves suspended Test status is totally wrong. They suspended for the very reason that they could be beaten by even Bangladesh which was very very weak. Zimbabwe lost a generation of High class players in one stroke. I dont think any of the players mentioned by you are near the class of Andy Flower, Murray Goodwin if you at all know. May be they were not from your generation because it is 10 years since problem started in Zim.I remember Kenya coming to Bangladesh anwinning one day series decisively after even Test status. Even now once Sean Erwine is released from Kolpak Zim will have a batsman much better than any name mentioned by you.Winning against Zim in 2004 to 2007 and claiming to be strong is a joke. TBC

  • on September 27, 2010, 1:04 GMT

    What people neglect to see is the long gap between matches that Zimbabwe has. This lack of competitive matches hates their perfomance hence their ranking. Unlike small teams like Ireland who are getting some competitive matches in hence their improved ranking. Ireland is far from being a test playing country as it even failed to qualify for the Intercontinental cup. ODI matches can always go either way for they do not test the batsmen's skills. So I am not surprised that the match was closely fought. Give Zim more matches and stop with the politics already.Let the boys play.

  • Meety on September 26, 2010, 23:37 GMT

    Anyway - appeared to be a good contest which in these games is what I like to see (Uganda & Namibia had a close fought match the other day as well). If Ireland were given Test status, for them to be competitive they would need their English qualified players to be automatically required to play for Ireland. I am glad Zim played well there are signs there that they have some real talent, I feared for a while there they were heading backwards (just after the time they dropped out of Tests). I don't see the harm in giving limited Test status to Ireland straight away, where they can play Tests against Zim & Bang. & maybe be included in tours of England either at the start or finish of a series, (one off Tests). The big problem for Bangladesh was they got too many tests before they were ready, particularly against the top flight opposition. They should of been restricted to matches against NZ, Zim & WI. This would of allowed their players to compete as opposed to being thrashed.

  • Meety on September 26, 2010, 23:29 GMT

    Hmm - the comments about Test status seem a little bit all over the shop. I believe that Ireland Now are better than what Bang. was WHEN they were admitted to Test status. I believe that Bangladesh @ full strength are better than Zim & Ireland are now (not by much). A full strength Ireland with Morgan, Joyce & Rankin - would be Test strength. Remember that Bangladesh was beating Zimbabwe fairly regularly prior to Zims withdrawal from Tests. I think Zimbabwe probably (despite the way cricket is run in the country), has the better first class structure & should produce quality cricketers - the issue will be whether they can keep them from being pilferred by County cricket. @ Rakesh_Sharma; I do not believe Bang would of been rolled for 150, as they have players who are proven at a higher level than anyone in either Zim & Ire - namely Tamim, Shakib, Mahmuddullah & to a lesser extent Siddique & Rahim. They have the nucleus of a good albeit youthful batting line up - TBC.

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 26, 2010, 22:07 GMT

    @ Sportsscientist , Sorry but you need to do some more research . Just because Ireland players have options to play in England does not mean we can delay granting them Test status. Test status objective is to have more countries playing seriously. At this stage IReland is 10 times better than what Bangladesh was when they were granted Test status. I do not mean Bangladesh should be stripped but Ireland must be granted without delay. There is more competition to cricket in Ireland than it is in Bangladesh. The people in Sub continent can play only Cricket especially batting. In Europe and worls there is always competition from Tsunami called football for kids. If Ireland plays the amount of International cricket Bangladesh has played in 10 years they would have been 10 times stronger than Bangladesh at this stage.

  • eire on September 26, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    well done ireland,grt game n showing that we are on par with the low-level test countries...Especially with the fact Rankin, joyce & Cusack were all missing. Maybe this will show the sham that is the ICC that there is more depth than they think in the sport...I think Zimbabwe will win the series 2-1 Come on Ireland

  • norsh on September 26, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    What is beyond belief is Zimbabwes persistance with Vusi Sibanda?? He clearly never performs well internationally, and should remain in the xv until such a time that hes ready. There are players like Mariller/wlliams/vermeulen who def need to be considered especially as SA loom.

  • Sportsscientist on September 26, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    well done ireland.....a great game. I do think ireland is squad is good enough to play test cricket, but the comparisons between ireland & bangladesh are unfair. Bangladesh does deserve test status, but ireland's situation is unique. If the do not gain test status, any good young irish player will be scouted by english counties, allowing them to play test cricket for england. With bangladesh, any good young player cannot just take a plane & "go to india", to play test cricket. I don't think that people who live in the sub continent fully understand how the residency regulations, hurt ireland & scotland. They think that ireland is being compared to bangladesh. This is not the case. Of course ireland are not ready yet, but the current rules/laws don't help. I hope ireland continue to do well for the next 2 matches.

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 26, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    @Rabbi Ahmed, You don't need Bangladesh involved here to comment on Quality of Teams. The quality of game here was high. Low scoring and high scoring depends on the status of pitch. This was a true pitch so dead pitch heros do not necessarily score here. Bangladesh would have folded for under 150 in such situations. Take a broader view of the game my friend.

  • on September 26, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    This is an ODI and a low scoring one. Strange how Mr. Rakesh came to this silly conclusion. Come on dude think twice before you made a comment, Bangladesh is not even playing in this series. So where did Bangladesh come from?

  • on September 26, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    Well done Ireland you put up a great fight! Zim won here but it was only an escape. They have the ability to perform better and I'm sure the are going to do better in the coming matches. Zim will take this series, thats what I predict.

  • mconquer on September 26, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    well done zim bt should improve on todays perfomance with the bat!!

  • on September 26, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Is this a comeback for T Taibu??

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 26, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    This game showed why Ireland is better than Bangladesh and why it is a great injustice to have Bangladesh a Test status and Ireland not.

  • on September 26, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Well done Zim. Good performance and good match!

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  • on September 26, 2010, 15:29 GMT

    Well done Zim. Good performance and good match!

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 26, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    This game showed why Ireland is better than Bangladesh and why it is a great injustice to have Bangladesh a Test status and Ireland not.

  • on September 26, 2010, 16:02 GMT

    Is this a comeback for T Taibu??

  • mconquer on September 26, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    well done zim bt should improve on todays perfomance with the bat!!

  • on September 26, 2010, 17:27 GMT

    Well done Ireland you put up a great fight! Zim won here but it was only an escape. They have the ability to perform better and I'm sure the are going to do better in the coming matches. Zim will take this series, thats what I predict.

  • on September 26, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    This is an ODI and a low scoring one. Strange how Mr. Rakesh came to this silly conclusion. Come on dude think twice before you made a comment, Bangladesh is not even playing in this series. So where did Bangladesh come from?

  • Rakesh_Sharma on September 26, 2010, 18:17 GMT

    @Rabbi Ahmed, You don't need Bangladesh involved here to comment on Quality of Teams. The quality of game here was high. Low scoring and high scoring depends on the status of pitch. This was a true pitch so dead pitch heros do not necessarily score here. Bangladesh would have folded for under 150 in such situations. Take a broader view of the game my friend.

  • Sportsscientist on September 26, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    well done ireland.....a great game. I do think ireland is squad is good enough to play test cricket, but the comparisons between ireland & bangladesh are unfair. Bangladesh does deserve test status, but ireland's situation is unique. If the do not gain test status, any good young irish player will be scouted by english counties, allowing them to play test cricket for england. With bangladesh, any good young player cannot just take a plane & "go to india", to play test cricket. I don't think that people who live in the sub continent fully understand how the residency regulations, hurt ireland & scotland. They think that ireland is being compared to bangladesh. This is not the case. Of course ireland are not ready yet, but the current rules/laws don't help. I hope ireland continue to do well for the next 2 matches.

  • norsh on September 26, 2010, 18:50 GMT

    What is beyond belief is Zimbabwes persistance with Vusi Sibanda?? He clearly never performs well internationally, and should remain in the xv until such a time that hes ready. There are players like Mariller/wlliams/vermeulen who def need to be considered especially as SA loom.

  • eire on September 26, 2010, 19:05 GMT

    well done ireland,grt game n showing that we are on par with the low-level test countries...Especially with the fact Rankin, joyce & Cusack were all missing. Maybe this will show the sham that is the ICC that there is more depth than they think in the sport...I think Zimbabwe will win the series 2-1 Come on Ireland