Rain continues to follow the Ireland team around the world with the first one-day international against Zimbabwe abandoned after just 25 overs as the drought in Harare came to an abrupt halt.

Ireland were on top in the match with Graham Hume having just taken the sixth wicket with 121 on the board but hopes of turning it into a victory were dashed by the heavy, constant rain.

It continues a frustrating pattern for Ireland, this the third successive bilateral series when the first game produced a no result, following series in England against their hosts in September and Bangladesh in May.

Ireland made two changes from their last ODI, against England in Bristol, with Hume and Andy McBrine returning in place of Barry McCarthy and Theo van Woerkom with the Waringstown seamer the pick of the five Ireland bowlers.

He was brought  on in the sixth over after Josh Little’s first two overs had gone for 25, which included four fours and a six by Tinash Kamunhukamwe. Hume’s response was to remove  the big-hitting opener second ball, an ugly heave skied to mid-off, and Craig Young followed up with the wicket of Innocent Kaia in his second over.

Little made up for his errant opening overs, however, by claiming the huge wicket of Zimbabwe captain Sikander Raza in his second spell, caught behind for 15, and two wickets in two balls in the 20th over, the first following a horrible miscommunication giving Ireland a run-out, reduced the hosts to 81 for five.

McBrine’s figures were ruined by three successive fours from Brandon Mavuta just before the rain arrived and the abandoned game still gives Ireland the chance to win the first game for only the third time in a remarkable 21 away ODI series. The last was against UAE in 2017.

There was again no sign of Craig Ervine or Sean Williams in the Zimbabwe line-up which should make Ireland’s mission easier but the intention will be to use just the five front-line bowlers, while Curtis Campher will continue to bat at No 3 in the new-look batting line-up. After two wash-outs in England, he is still awaiting his second opportunity.

Scores: Zimbabwe 121-6 (25.3 overs, B Mavuta 28 not out, J Gumbie 28, T Kamunhukamwe 28; G Hume 2-7, C Young 2-33, J Little 1-37) v Ireland. Abandoned.