There has been little between Zimbabwe and Ireland over the years and it was again the case in Harare in the opening match of their three-game T20I  series.

A game that ebbed and flowed thoughout went down to the last ball, with the hosts giant paceman Blessing Muzarabani getting an inside edge past a despairing Lorcan Tucker to get the two runs they required.

Batting first, Ireland squandered a fast start by skippers past and present - Andy Balbirnie (32) and Paul Stirling (14) - to go from 44 for 0 in the 5th over to 116 for 8 in the 18th.

Leinster all-rounder Gareth Delany cleared the ropes twice in his 11-ball unbeaten 26, as 20 runs came from the last over to get his side up to 147 for 8.

It looked under-par at the half-way stage but the Irish attack looked lively, with a clearly fired-up Josh Little (2-17) spearheading the pace quartet.

Little removed the dangerous Sean Williams and wished him well on his travels - the vetern left-hander looking back a few times as he trudged off.

The Pembroke left-armer also had 'a frank exchange of views' with Sikander Raza which required the intervention of the umpires when Curtis Campher joined in as the feisty nature of the contest threatened to boil over.

Zimbabwe's talisman in recent times has been Raza and the skipper looked to be taking his side to a relatively comfortable win with a top-score of 65 from just 42 balls (5 fours, 2 sixes) with just 18 required off 18 balls following an expensive 17th over from Barry McCarthy that went for 20, spoling an otherwise impressive display.

However, after Little had accounted for Clive Madande (20) in the 18th over, Mark Adair dismissed Luke Jongwe and Raza in the 19th over - reaching the 100 T20I wickets landmark in the process - the second fastest behind Rashid Khan - and once again the game was in the balance.

Nine were required from the last bowled by McCarthy, which started dot, two, one to leave six from three. Ngarva's heave to midwicket left the equation two from two balls.

Mark Adair then produced a stunning catch, running back from short third man to cling on with a full length dive much to the disbelief of the crowd and team mates alike - a catch for the ages.

It was reminiscient of Trent Johnston's against Pakistan in the 2007 World Cup, and when the last ball was being bowled, memories of the tie between these sides was very much in mind.

However, Zimbabwe were able to thank their 'Blessings' as they eked out the win much to the delight of the large, partisan home crowd who had turned out in force to witness a piece of history with the first match played under floodlights at the historic stadium.

The teams meet again on Saturday and Sunday at the same venue.