A series of soft dismissals and a poor performance by the spinners cost Ireland any chance of victory in their opening World Cup qualifying game against Oman in Bulawayo yesterday.

It is too early to say if it will have any effect on Ireland’s hopes of making it to India for the finals in  October – because points are only carried through to the next stage against fellow qualifiers – but Oman’s powerful batting line-up will cause problems for all the teams in Group B.

They scored 267 and 339 in the warm-up games but lost both because a much weaker bowling line-up but apart from George Dockrell, who hit his highest score for his country and, inevitably, Harry Tector, who passed 50 for the 13th time in a one-day international, Ireland batters failed to take advantage.

An opening stand of 50 between new pair Andy McBrine and Paul Stirling, having lost the toss, was the ideal start but then losing both in successive balls was not. Andrew Balbirne’s poor form continued, caught behind for seven, and Gareth Delany after getting to 20 off 13 balls, swung across the line and was bowled.

Tector will be disappointed to have holed out to long-on, three balls after his 50 but Dockrell, who hit the first and last sixes of the innings, stayed to the finish 91 not out.

With spin friendly conditions, Dockrell felt the total of 281 was just about par but in the end, Josh Little and Mark Adair shared four of the wickets with Dockrell picking up the solitary one from 24 overs of slow bowling.