John Mooney inspired Ireland to an impressive seven wicket win over Namibia a sunny Stormont, as they got the ICC World T20 Qualifier off to the best possible start.
Coming on first change in the third over, Mooney bowled accurately as he picked up 3-23 from his four over spell.
“We got the win and it was a a great start,” said Mooney.
“Namibia have beaten us before in this tournament so it was crucial to beat them in the first game.”
George Dockrell was also impressive with the ball, only conceding 15 runs in his four overs picking up two wickets in the process as Namibia were restricted to 124-8 from their 20 overs.
There was also two wickets for Alex Cusack (2-25) and a wicket for Paul Stirling (1-20).
For Namibia, only one batsman - JJ Smit (21) - passed the 20 run mark; JP Kotze was the closest with 18.
Niall O’Brien was elevated to open the batting for Ireland alongside Paul Stirling, but he was out inside the first over caught at cover for just one.
Skipper William Porterfield joined O’Brien, and together the pair set about chasing down the target with a fine display of shots all around the ground.
O’Brien was eventually out caught at long-on for a well made 45 from 40 balls.
His brother Kevin suffered a similar fate not long after, but a top knock of 56 from 44 balls saw Ireland over the line with more than two overs to spare; Balbirnie was the other not out batsman on 18.
A fine start to the tournament for the host nation, next up for the Irish is the USA on Sunday. Play gets underway at 10am - tickets for that match are available on the gate.
“It’s the kind of professional performance you want first game of the tournament,” said Porterfield.
“We know before that we have slipped up in the early stages, especially not having two warm-ups games but we were right on it today.
“The job the lads did with the ball made it a bit easier for us with the bat.
“Niall has gone up top. We decided a few days ago before the warm-up games thats what we were going to do. He has gone up there to try and get us off to a start, him and Paul Sterling. We have got strength and depth in the batting.”