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Zimbabwe defeat Ireland by two wickets

HARARE – Craig Ervine and Sikandar Raza both hit 60 as Zimbabwe clinched a two-wicket win over Ireland in the first of three ODIs in Harare today.

The hosts restricted Ireland to 219 for 8 from their 50 overs, Gary Wilson scoring an unbeaten 70 and Ed Joyce adding 53.

Ireland reduced Zimbabwe to 171 for 7 before Raza’s unbeaten knock helped them to victory with an over to spare.

The second game takes place on Sunday before a potential decider on Tuesday.

Paul Stirling (24) and Kevin O’Brien (16) contributed to a modest Ireland total while John Nyumba (2-35) and Wellington Masakadza (2-45) each picked up two wickets.

Spinner George Dockrell was the pick of the Irish bowlers with 2-29.

Ireland hope to end the series still ahead of Zimbabwe in the world rankings.

The Irish started the series in 10th and Zimbabwe 11th, with the tourists holding a two-point advantage over their rivals.

Zimbabwe fell to a 2-1 series defeat by Pakistan in Harare last week.

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