Thursday, May 30, 2024

Ireland beat UAE in opening T20 World Cup qualifier

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Ireland got their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier campaign off to the perfect start with a six-wicket win over the UAE on Thursday.

Set 106 for victory, Ireland comfortably reached the target with 23 balls to spare, with Eimear Richardson impressing with both bat and ball. The all-rounder backed up excellent figures of 2-15 with an unbeaten 22, striking on both fronts at crucial junctures of the match.

Earlier in the day, and despite captain Esha Oza falling to Alana Dalzell in the second over, UAE made a lively start with the bat as Theertha Satish (22) and Khushi Sharma (24) shared a 46-run stand for the second wicket.

Ireland responded superbly, though, taking six wickets for just 13 runs as UAE slumped from 64-1 to 77-7. It was here that Richardson (2-15) and fellow spinner Cara Murray (1-8) were instrumental in reining in the hosts.

So too was an impressive fielding display across the board, which saw Instonians and Malahide CC Dragons wicket-keeper-batter Amy Hunter make two stumpings and complete a Leah Paul run-out.

Arlene Kelly and Murray also combined to find Rinitha Rajith short of her ground, while Ava Canning took a smart low catch to remove Vaishnave Mahesh. Kelly (2-12) returned to take the eighth and ninth wickets in the penultimate over, reducing the UAE to 105-9 from their 20 overs.

Hunter departed soon after for 25, with skipper Laura Delany unfortunate in playing on without scoring in the same over.

At that stage, Ireland was 62-3 and thankful for their rapid start. Even more so when Rebecca Stokell chipped an Oza delivery straight back to the bowler at the start of the 11th over.

Orla Prendergast (22*) then combined with Richardson to avoid any further alarm during a 38-run partnership that saw Ireland home.

Ireland return to action at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Monday, 29 April when they face Zimbabwe.

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