World Cup Qualifier: Ireland defeat Netherlands in Harare opener

Andrew Balbirnie
Andrew Balbirnie struck 68 runs from 112 balls at Old Hararians Sports Club
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.

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Ireland taking it one game at a time - Porterfield

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.