Zimbabwe 266-7 (C Ervine 64, S Raza 59*; S Singh 1-22) beat Ireland 228 all out (W Porterfield 75, H Tector 50; R Muzarabani 4-29) by 38 runs.
Ireland skipper Andrew Balbirnie was searching for positives after Zimbabwe won the first World Cup Super League game between the teams in Stormont by 38 runs.
The spin twins of Simi Singh and Andrew McBrine excelled, taking two for 48 in their combined 20 overs but Zimbabwe still totalled 266 for seven as the three pace bowlers and three overs from George Dockrell went for 215 runs.
The batting was a similar story with William Porterfield and Paul Stirling putting on 64 for the first wicket in 15 overs, and although Balbirnie went cheaply, Harry Tector and Porterfield added another 71 for the third wicket.
However, when Porterfield was caught at the third attempt by Dion Myers, at deep mid-wicket, for 75 - his highest score since May 2019 - and Dockrell followed four overs later, Zimbabwe had it all their own way.
From 186 for three after 38 overs - a required run-rate still below seven - their next 33 scoring shots were all singles and they lost six wickets. No 11 Josh Little finally broke the shackles with a boundary four but he was out next ball with nine balls unused.
“We perhaps didn’t start well with the ball as we would have liked,” said Balbirnie afterwards, “but we pulled it back nicely” - until Singh and McBrine had bowled out their overs, he didn’t add.
Zimbabwe scored 103 in the last 11 overs and hit 12 boundaries, with Sikander Raza helping himself to seven of them in his 44-ball 59. It was enough to win him the man of the match.
“We started well with the bat and got ourselves into a good position to go on and win the game. It’s going to need a big performance from the whole squad to turn it around in the next match (tomorrow).”
The middle-lower order batting performances are becoming a regular occurrence with this team and if one of the top three or four do not stay to the end, there is usually one result. It happened twice in the T20 series between the teams and Ireland lost both games. In the ODIs it already a case of here we go again.
B Taylor c Dockrell b Singh 49
R Chakabva c Balbirnie b Young 2
C Ervine c Balbirnie b Dockrell 64
D Myers c Tucker b McBrine 7
S Williams b Little 33
Sikander Raza not out 59
W Madhevere c Balbirnie b Adair 19
L Jongwe run out 18
Extras (3lb 12w) 15
Total (7 wkts, 50 overs) 266
Fall: 1-14 2-85 3-101 4-150 5-182 6-226 7-266
Bowling: C Young 8-0-51-1, M Adair 10-0-63-1, J Little 9-0-78-1, S Singh 10-2-22-1, A McBrine 10-0-26-1, G Dockrell 3-0-23-1
W Porterfield c Myers b Jongwe 75
P Stirling lbw b Masakadza 32
A Balbirnie b Madhevere 12
H Tector c Muzarabani b Williams 50
G Dockrell c Chakabva b Muzarabani 11
S Singh c Madhevere b Muzarabani 3
L Tucker c Williams b Masakadza 14
A McBrine c Chakabva b Williams 2
M Adair c Ngarava b Muzarabani 6
C Young not out 2
J Little c Ervine b Muzarabani 4
Extras (8lb 9w) 17
Total (48.4 overs) 228
Fall: 1-64 2-92 3-163 4-187 5-195 6-202 7-206 8-218 9-224
Bowling: B Muzarabani 9.4-2-29-4, R Ngarava 7-1-31-0, W Masakadza 9-0-40-2, L Jongwe 7-0-39-1, W Madhevere 4-0-20-1, S Williams 8-0-42-2, Sikander Raza 4-0-19-0