Craig Young admitted it has been a frustrating week but he produced a man of the match performance in his first game in Zimbabwe for eight years.

The game at the World Cup qualifying tournament may have been only to get Ireland into Tuesday’s seventh/eighth place play-off but Young claimed his best one-day international figures since the Netherlands in 2021, to finish with three for 35 against the United States in Harare.

With Mark Adair, Barry McCarthy and Andy McBrine also picking up two wickets each, the USA were bowled out for 196 in the 43rd over and Ireland, with the help of another half century from Paul Stirling knocked off the runs with more than 15 overs to spare.

To change or not to change a winning team was the question for Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie and coach Heinrich Malan and in the end the only decision they made was enforced with Josh Little ruled out by a cut toe so Young, belatedly, got his chance.

“It’s been frustrating but its nice to get out on the park with the lads and then get a few wickets and nice to get the win, so I’ll take that,” said the North Down and North West Warriors paceman.

“The past few months have been difficult to get into this position (to be fit) but the last few weeks I have felt good. It has not been easy but for now I’m in a good spot.”

Young also confirmed that there was pressure on the team to perform in those early group games,  which ultimately led to fatal defeats by Oman and Scotland.

“Once we lost the (Sri Lanka) game that decided we couldn’t qualify it was like a monkey off our backs and the lads were free to express themselves. There were a lot of nerves out there before hand, you can’t help that, but we are now playing the brand of cricket we want to and it’s just unfortunate it has come to the stage it has. Hopefully we can now go forward and keep getting better and better.”

Young could not have announced his arrival more emphatically, taking wickets with his second and third balls of the tour and added a third in the first over of his second spell.

He was well supported by Warriors captain McBrine who enjoyed his best bowl of the tournament and also ran  out the dangerous Saiteja Mukkamalla, flicking a return drive back onto the non-striker’s stumps.

Stirling led the charge for victory, taking advantage of a life to third slip on seven to hammer nine fours and two sixes in his 58 while Lorcan Tucker had an even better strike rate, hitting 25 off 19 balls, with five fours. Encouragingly, Balbirnie, in his 100th ODI, also made a chanceless 45 not out, leaving him just 94 runs short of 3,000 ODI runs.

Ireland’s final game here will be against the winners of Sunday's clash between Nepal and UAE.