HARARE- On a day that proved historic for Zimbabwe as they played their first 50-over match since being granted ODI status, captain Mary-Anne Musonda’s unbeaten century powered them to a four-wicket win. Zimbabwe leads the four-match ODI series, 1-0.
Chasing 254 in their first ODI assignment, Zimbabwe accomplished the mission with 37 balls and four wickets to spare against Ireland.
The masterful performance was led by the skipper Mary-Anne Musonda who became Zimbabwe’s first woman centurion.
Although, her counterpart Ireland captain Laura Delany’s 86 in the first innings had set them up for a competitive outing.
The hosts had their nose in front throughout their pursuit barring the two early wickets of openers Chiedza Dhururu (4) and Modester Mupachikwa (11) that had them reduced to 25/2 in 5.2 overs.
Ashley Ndiraya joined forces with Musonda to add 52 runs for the third wicket, however, leg-spinner Cara Murray broke the partnership with a flighted delivery that unbalanced Ndiraya, inciting a leading edge to the keeper for 24.
Musonda anchored their innings around which healthy contributions from the middle order consisting of Pellagia Mujaji (16), Josephine Nkomo (25) and Precious Marange (27) saw them home comprehensively.
Earlier, the home side opted to bowl first. The Irish openers, Leah Paul and Gaby Lewis were cautious in their approach. The opening stand lasted for 8.2 overs and 28 runs before Precious Marange removed Paul for 13.
Lewis on the other end remained steady, however, her stay was brought to an end by Marange too — an edge straight to keeper Modester Mupachikwa for 24 off 51 balls.
With a run rate of less than 3.5 in the first 28 overs, Ireland were looking for a momentum shift with seven wickets in hand.
Captain Laura Delany was joined by Shauna Kavanagh after the departure of Rebecca Stokell who grinded her way to 22 runs in 62 balls.
Delany pressed the paddle immediately with 12 runs in the following over and kept responding to pressure with a run-a-ball fifty.
Her partnership with Kavanagh yielded 76 runs for the fourth wicket. While they were on the brink of the final 10 overs, Kavanagh was bowled by Esther Mbofana for 31 runs.
The visitors were able to amass 81 runs in the death overs, thanks to some power-hitting from Orla Prendergast (28 off 22 balls) and Sophie MacMahon (29 off 13 balls) on the solid foundation laid by Delany’s 86 in 81 deliveries. – ICC