1st ODI, Harare, Oct 9 2015, Ireland tour of Zimbabwe
(49/50 ov, target 220)
Zimbabwe won by 2 wickets (with 6 balls remaining)
Player Of The Match
• The Report by Liam Brickhill in Harare

Sikandar Raza holds nerve to deny Ireland

Sikandar Raza produced a fine knock under pressure to guide Zimbabwe to a 1-0 series lead against Ireland in Harare

Match centre 
Scorer: Freeman Chigovera
Commentator: Liam Brickhill
Scorecard summary
Ireland219/8(50 overs)
Zimbabwe222/8(49 overs)
end of over 497 runs
ZIM: 222/8CRR: 4.53 
Tinashe Panyangara8 (11)
Sikandar Raza60 (72)
Tim Murtagh10-0-52-1
Kevin O'Brien4-0-24-0

5.35pm Though Raza's knock sealed the result, the character of this game was decided by the spinners on both sides. Zimbabwe's combination of John Nyumbu, Sean Williams and debutant Wellington Masakadza took a combined 5 for 125 in 29 overs, while George Dockrell was a handful in the afternoon and Ireland's slow bowlers kept Zimbabwe to 117 for 4 in 30 overs. Read all about the day's action in my match report, which will be up presently. Your commentator today has been Liam Brickhill at Harare Sports Club. Thanks for tuning in, and please do catch our coverage of the next match on Sunday. It's sure to be a cracker! Goodbye

5.15pm Joyous celebration from Zimbabwe's supporters in the ground as Raza and Panyangara embrace in the middle of the pitch. What a match. Ireland fought the hosts for every single run, but Zimbabwe have squeaked home. I need to lie down.

It was said before the match that there is very little indeed to separate these teams, and that's proved to be the case. Their two innings followed remarkably similar courses. Ireland were 39 for 2 in the 10th over, Zimbabwe were 44 for 2 in the 9th. Ireland were 158 for 5 in the 40th over, Zimbabwe were 152 for 5 in the 34th. Ultimately, Raza's frenetic innings at the death proved the difference, and he's named Man of the Match

Vee: "Good to see two evenly matched international sides fight it down to the wire. Close matches like these are what the true international die hard fans want to see. All the way from the West Indies, best of luck to both teams! "

jason gridley: "Raza is a special bloke. Won't be surprised if he ends up leading the side soon. Good role model too "

Murtagh to Panyangara, FOUR runs
what a way to finish the match! Panyangara steps down the track to meet the ball on the half volley,and crunches the ball straight down the ground for four! Scenes!

2 off 7, last ball of the over. Yet another Zimbabwe v Ireland game goes down to the wire. Why don't these teams play each other more often?

Murtagh to Sikandar Raza, 1 run
huge cheers erupt as Raza sends the ball down to third man with an angled bat.

Raza is eyeing the deep midwicket boundary.

Murtagh to Panyangara, 1 run
hit down the ground, but a diving mid-off cuts it off! That would have been the game, but it's just a single.

One hit will do it.

Murtagh to Panyangara, 1 wide
wide ball! Murtagh shoots this one down the leg side. Panyangara aimed a Moin Khan-esque flick at it, but couldn't connect. Still, a run and an extra ball for Zimbabwe.
Murtagh to Panyangara, no run
another dot ball, pressure builds. This was on a length outside off. Panyangara wanted the single to third man, but he found point instead.

In case you're wondering, the light is still good at Harare Sports Club!

Murtagh to Panyangara, no run
another dot. It's hard to see where the gap in the field is for Panyangara. He pushes this one to point and charges down the track, but Raza sends him back.

george: "a late wicket could make it interesting!"

Murtagh to Panyangara, no run
a length delivery is tapped to mid-on, and there's no run there.

Zimbabwe need five runs in two overs. There's singing and dancing down at Castle Corner. Porterfield brings the field in with Panyangara on strike.

end of over 486 runs
ZIM: 215/8CRR: 4.47 • RRR: 2.50 • Need 5 from 12b
Tinashe Panyangara3 (6)
Sikandar Raza59 (71)
Kevin O'Brien4-0-24-0
Tim Murtagh9-0-45-1

Six singles in that over. Ireland have to push for the wicket now, and they have Panyangara on strike.

O'Brien to Panyangara, 1 run
off the inside edge! Barely a ball has passed without drama in the last 10 minutes. Panyangara stepped forward and wanted to drive down the ground, but the ball flew off the inside edge and went to square leg instead.
O'Brien to Sikandar Raza, 1 run
clubbed down the ground again. O'Brien sticks out a boot, but he can't stop it and they take a single.

7 off 14 now. Singles will win it for Zimbabwe

O'Brien to Panyangara, 1 run
in the air again! This was the leading edge now, and it popped up just past a diving fielder at short extra cover. They charge through for a single, and might have had an overthrow too.
O'Brien to Sikandar Raza, 1 run
smashed back at the bowler! I don't think he got a hand to it, though it was in the air. Just the single
O'Brien to Panyangara, 1 run
nicely played by the tailender. He gets forward and drives with a straight bat to collect a single to mid-off's right.

Long-off comes up to mid-off now. Third man goes out.

O'Brien to Sikandar Raza, 1 run
short of a good length, Raza slaps it like a tennis forehand down to long-off.

11 off 18, two wickets in hand. A long conference between O'Brien and his captain. Fine leg and third man are up. Long-on and long-off are out.

Dan: "Oh God. I can't read this anymore! Too tense. I'm not even any of these teams' supporters"

end of over 476 runs • 1 wicket
ZIM: 209/8CRR: 4.44 • RRR: 3.66 • Need 11 from 18b
Tinashe Panyangara0 (3)
Sikandar Raza56 (68)
Tim Murtagh9-0-45-1
John Mooney5-1-24-1
Murtagh to Panyangara, no run
a yorker on middle and off is dug out to mid-off, Panyangara survives.

The crowd at Castle Corner are all on their feet, and very vocal.

Murtagh to Panyangara, no run
fuller this time, and Panyangara leans forward to drive to point.
Murtagh to Panyangara, no run
a length delivery is met with a dead bat from Panyangara

What's more, Tinashe Panyangara will now be on strike.

Murtagh to Sikandar Raza, 2 runs, OUT
drama! Is there another twist in this tale? Raza lofted a length delivery out to deep cover, where it fell safely. They took the first two runs easily, but Raza wanted a third. Masakadza committed to the run straight away, but it was never on. Joyce's throw from the deep went to Porterfield at cover, who relayed it to the keeper, catching the batsman well short.
WP Masakadza run out (Joyce/Porterfield) 10 (32m 18b 0x4 0x6) SR: 55.55

Sanjay: "Almost every Zimbabwe vs Ireland ODIs produced nail bitters.. New Rivalry in cricket?"

Murtagh to Sikandar Raza, 2 runs
is that another drop? It looked like it! A really tough chance for Wilson behind the stumps. It was another full ball, but this time the shot came off the face of the bat and flew past the keeper.
Match details
Harare Sports Club
TossZimbabwe , elected to field first
SeriesIreland tour of Zimbabwe
Player Of The Match
Sikandar Raza
Series resultZimbabwe led the 3-match series 1-0
Match numberODI no. 3688
Hours of play (local time)09.30 start, First Session 09.30-13.00 Interval 13.00-13.45, Second Session 13.45-17.00
Match days9 October 2015 (50-over match)
ODI debut
Wellington Masakadza
Johan Cloete
Russell Tiffin
Reserve Umpire
Langton Rusere
Match Referee
Javagal Srinath