Ireland’s men's cricket team got their World Cup qualifying tournament off to the best possible start when they beat The Netherlands in Zimbabwe by 93 runs. 

The Irish were put into bat by their opponents, who opted to bowl on a cloudy morning at the Old Hararians Sports Club in Harare and in the end Graham Ford's side made 268 for seven off their 50 overs.

Andy Balbirnie (player of the match) top scored on 68 with contributions from captain William Porterfield (47) and Niall O’Brien (49).  

A late flurry of runs from George Dockrell (12 not out) and Barry McCarthy (17 not out) helped Ireland get past the 250 mark. 

There was a delay between the innings as the rains came and the Dutch were then given a reduced target of 243 off 41 overs on the Duckworth Lewis method.  

However Ireland's bowlers were on top right from the off and the Netherlands were reduced to 82 for six by the 22nd over, Kevin O’Brien getting the prize wicket of Ryan ten Doeschate lbw for just 21 runs. 

Tim Murtagh was the pick of the Irish bowlers taking three for 28 off his seven overs as the Netherlands were bowled out for just 149 in the 33rd over. 

Ireland play their second game of Group A against Papua New Guinea on Tuesday before the crunch match of the group against the West Indies next Sunday.

The Windies play their opening encounter against the UAE, also on Tuesday. 

After the group stages the top six teams advance to a 'super six' stage with the top two making the final and the ultimate goal of qualifying for next year’s World Cup in England where they will joined by the eight nations who have already pre-qualified.