Zimbabwe beat Ireland women by seven wickets in series opener

Shauna Kavanagh was Ireland's top scorer with 79 runs
Shauna Kavanagh was Ireland's top scorer with 79 runs
First one-day international, Harare:
Zimbabwe 140-3 (26 overs): Mugeri 64, Mupachikwa 40; Marange 2-21
Ireland 173-7 (50 overs): Kavanagh 79, Waldron 22; MacMahon 2-12
Zimbabwe won by seven wickets (DLS method)
Scorecard (external site)

Ireland's women began their tour of Zimbabwe with a 33-run loss to their hosts in Harare on Thursday.

Shauna Kavanagh struck five sixes as she scored 79 runs from 118 balls but she lacked support as Ireland posted a total of 173 from their 50 overs.

Zimbabwe's response was interrupted by heavy rain but they achieved their target with seven overs remaining.

The teams will play a further two one-day matches as well as a four-game T20 series.

Ireland captain Mary Waldron won the toss and elected to bat first in sunny conditions at the Harare Country Club with Vanessa Kelada, Anna Kerrison and Cara Murray making their debuts for the tourists.

Openers Una Raymond-Hoey and Waldron were both run out and Rachel Delaney was caught off the first ball she faced as Ireland were reduced to 30-3 after 14 overs.

Kavanagh's fifth-wicket stand with Amy Kenealy briefly rallied the hopes of the visitors but Kenealy's departure, also by run out, was quickly followed by the wickets of Lara Maritz and Ciara Metcalfe.

Murray marked her debut with a defiant knock of 14 runs from 30 balls in a 74-run partnership with Kavanagh that restored the chances of victory for Aaron Hamilton's side.

Ireland's bowling attack started brightly as Kenealy accounted for opener Ashley Ndiraya before heavy rain forced the players off the field with the hosts on 57-1 in the ninth over.

A lengthy delay resulted in a revised target for Zimbabwe and captain Chipo Mugeri scored 64 to help her side a comfortable victory.