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The Ireland women’s national cricket team lost to Zimbabwe by four wickets on Tuesday in the hosts’ first-ever one-day international match since being granted ODI status.
Zimbabwe chased down the target of 253 that Ireland had built up and scored 254 runs with 37 balls to spare to take the lead in the four-game series.
The hosts’ captain, Mary-Anne Musonda, scored a century to lead her side to victory in the country’s capital of Harare, going unbeaten in the process.
With her final score of 103, Musonda became Zimbabwe’s first-ever woman centurion, capping off a historic day with another milestone for the home side to celebrate.
The captain formed healthy partnerships throughout the 50 overs and her teammates contributed positively to the chase, with Precious Marange and Josephine Nkomo posting 27 and 25 runs each during their spells at-bat.
This came after two early wickets had spelled danger for the Zimbabweans, as the Irish held them to 25/2 after just 5.2 overs.
The Irish opening partnership of Leah Paul and Gaby Lewis lasted longer but were much less successful as they only managed 28 runs in 8.2 overs before Paul walked.
Lewis only managed 24 runs off 51 balls before she received her marching orders when Marange removed her, having separated the opening partnership earlier.
Laura Delany was the standout for Ireland on a slow day – the captain racked up 86 in a strong push to reach 253 after the side had managed a run rate of only 3.5 per over in the first 28.
She fell with only several overs to go and two more wickets followed after hers before the 50 overs came to a close.
Ireland failed to bowl out the hosts who reached their target in the middle of the 43rd over with four wickets to spare.
The two teams will play the second ODI in the four-match series on Thursday, September 7, with the game set to begin at 6 am BST.