Mary-Anne Musonda leads Zimbabwe to victory on their ODI debut

Mary-Anne Musonda playing a shot. © Zimbabwe Cricket

An unbeaten century from skipper Mary-Anne Musonda helped Zimbabwe start their journey in ODI cricket with a four-wicket win against Ireland in the first match on Tuesday (October 5).

Chasing more than five runs per over, Zimbabwe lost both their openers early. First, Sophie MacMahon got rid of Chiedza Dhururu, then Modester Mupachikwa got caught in a mix-up and was run out. Ashley Ndriya and skipper Musonda moved the innings forward for Zimbabwe. They took time to settle before scoring on every opportunity that was offered. Together, Ndriya and Musonda added 57 runs before the former got out to Cara Murray for 24 runs from 38 balls. 

Musonda kept Zimbabwe in the chase, with Pella Mujaji holding fort at the other end. The latter contributed only 16 runs to the 60-run stand as Musonda launched a counterattack. She raced to her first ODI fifty in no time. Though Mujaji got out, Josephine Nkomo struck another partnership with Musonda, taking the hosts closer to the target. Taking the matter into her own hands, Ireland skipper Laura Delany trapped Nkomo on the pads.

However, Precious Marange went after the Ireland bowlers, scoring at a strike rate over 100, allowing Musonda to anchor the chase. The skipper brought up her maiden ODI hundred on debut with a boundary down the ground. Marange got out for 27 from 23 balls, but Zimbabwe chased down the total in 43.5 overs. Musonda finished with an unbeaten 103 from 114 balls.

Earlier, opting to bowl first, Zimbabwe got an early breakthrough as Marange sent Leah Paul back to the pavilion for 12 runs from 22 balls. Rebecca Stokell tried to build a partnership with Gaby Lewis for the second wicket. Together, they added 31 runs before Marange dismissed Lewis for a 51-ball 24. 

Joined by skipper Delany, Stokell kept the innings going for the tourists. When it seemed like the duo were setting the tone for the rest of the innings, Loreen Tshuma struck to get rid of Stokell. However, Delany and Shauna Kavanagh ensured that there wasn’t a middle-order collapse for Ireland. They took the attack to Zimbabwe bowlers, with Delany playing the role of the aggressor. In the 13 overs since Stokell’s dismissal, they added 76 runs before Esther Mbofana cleaned up Kavanagh. She made 31 runs from 45 balls.

Delany was cruising her way towards the maiden ODI century, only for Nkomo to deny her the milestone. She fell 12 short of her century, scoring 88 runs from 81 balls. Some late hitting from MacMahon and Prendergast took Ireland past the 250-run mark. 

MacMahon smashed 29 from just 13 balls, while Prendergast scored a 22-ball 28. Ireland finished with 253 for eight in 50 overs. Nkomo was the pick of the bowler for Zimbabwe, taking two wickets for 46 runs. 

Brief Scores: Ireland 253/8 in 50 overs (Laura Delany 88, Shauna Kavanagh 31; Josephine Nkomo 2/46) lost to Zimbabwe 254/6 in 43.5 overs (Mary-Anne Musonda 103*, Precious Marange 27; Cara Murray 2/47) by four wickets.