World Cup Qualifier: Ireland defeat Netherlands in Harare opener
|World Cup Qualifier Group A: Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare|
|Ireland 268-7 (50 overs): Balbirnie 68, N O'Brien 49; van der Gugten 3-59|
|Netherlands (D/L target 243 from 41 overs)149 (32.2 overs): Edwards 26; Murtagh 3-28, Rankin (2-19)|
|Ireland won by 93 runs|
Ireland made a winning start to the World Cup Qualifier tournament with a 93-run victory over Netherlands.
Andrew Balbirnie's 68 helped the Irish to a 268-7 total in Harare along with contributions from Niall O'Brien (49) and William Porterfield (47).
A rain delay left the Dutch with a revised target of 243 from 41 overs.
Netherlands were easily dismissed for 149 in 32.3 overs with Scott Edwards top scoring on 26 while Tim Murtagh took 3-28 and Boyd Rankin 2-19.
Timm van der Gugten was the best of the Dutch bowlers with 3-59 but Ireland made steady progress including a 101-run partnership between Balbirnie and Niall O'Brien.
"The first game of any tournament is huge, we know the Dutch are a dangerous team, so to come out with a convincing win in the end is quite a relief to get the tournament going," said Balbirnie.
Ireland are back in action on Tuesday against Papua New Guinea, who were beaten by 56 runs (D/L) by United Arab Emirates in the other Group A game on Sunday.
The top three in each of the two groups progress to a Super Six competition, from which two will go through to the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.