After the retirement of major Irish players post World T20 last year, Ireland Women’s Cricket Team in 2019 is new, young and raw. They played their first T20 of the year and of the 3 match T20 series against West Indies women on Sunday in Dublin. Short of 64 runs, Ireland women lost the first match and trail the series by 0-1 but the lose must be an inconsequential one for them as they are still in the process to build themselves and revamp the team with all the young blood infused recently. 4 Irish players made their debut in the match.
The match started with Windies Women winning the toss and inviting Ireland Women to field first. Irish bowlers kept it tight in the initial overs for Windies Women. The first breakthrough for Ireland came in the form of a run-out, when opener Hayley Matthews ran looking for a single. Captain Stafanie Taylor walked in. Runs kept on getting added to the scoreboard at a sedate pace for the batting team until Sophie MacMahon claimed her first T20 International wicket. West Indies women’s scoreboard read 86 runs for a loss of 2 wickets after 15 overs. Stefanie Taylor led her team from the front when it was most needed and brought her 21st T20 International half-century with a boundary. From 86-2 in 15 overs, West Indies added 36 runs in the next 3 overs and pulled it off to 122-2 in 18 overs. In the 19th over, Stafanie was bowled by Celeste Raack at 75 runs from 53 balls. West Indies finished the innings at 139-4 in 20 overs.
One thing that leaves Ireland in predicament is the ankle injury of the captain Laura Delany. She hurt herself while trying to field her own bowling and was forced to leave the ground.
Irish openers Mary Waldron and Gaby Lewis walked down the field to chase a target of 140 runs but an early shock in the first over by Shamilia Connell forced Gaby Lewis to return to the Ireland dugout. Ireland continued batting ploddingly and after playing half of the overs, they stood at 33 runs for a loss of 4 wickets. The batting team completed its half-century after losing 5 wickets in 14 overs. Vice-captain Kim Garth made her career best T20 score of 46 runs in 55 balls. The hosts lost their remaining 4 wickets in the next 5 overs and were limited to a score of 75 runs in 18.4 overs. Laura Delany was unavailable to bat due to her injury. Afy Fletcher took 4 wickets including a crucial wicket of Kim Garth. Apart from their opponent’s bowling, one thing that kept Ireland batters at unease was Windies’ agility in fielding.
After the match, Kim Garth acknowledged the fact that the team started well with the bowl but could not continue the performance throughout the entire match. She also lauded Sophie MacMahon for a spell of 1-20 in her debut match. The next T20 is scheduled on 28th May where Ireland women would look forward to settle scores with West Indies Women, otherwise they lose the series.
West Indies Women won by 64 runs.
West Indies women: 139-4 (20) ; Ireland Women: 75-9 (18.4)