Thursday, May 30, 2024

Scotland through to maiden Women’s T20 World Cup after beating Ireland in qualifiers

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Skipper Kathryn Bryce starred with an all-round performance as Scotland punched tickets to its first Women’s T20 World Cup later this year. 

Opting to bat first to set the tone in the semfinal clash, Ireland was in early trouble with captain Bryce on fire with the new ball.

The Scotland skipper sent back the dangerous opening pair in the very first over to peg Ireland back. Amy Hunter was castled by an inswinger off the second ball of the game and Gaby Lewis smashed a pull straight to short mid-wicket off the fifth ball of the over.

Ireland’s woes compounded when Orla Prendergast was run out in the third over for 11. 

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Bryce struck another blow in her third over, bowling Laura Delany for two as Ireland slipped to 21/4 in the big knockout clash.

Completing her fourth over on the trot, Bryce struck with another wicket, that of Eimear Richardson, who skied a big shot to be dismissed for just one. 

Scotland was right on top in the big game with the Ireland scorecard reading 25/5, but Arlene Kelly and Leah Paul resurrected the innings in the second half. 

Abtaha Maqsood’s clever ploy to bowl one down the leg-side had seen the back of Rebecca Stokell, out stumped by the wicketkeeper, in the 11th over, but Paul and Kelly rebuilt with purpose for Ireland.

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The duo stitched together a vital 60-run partnership that was only broken in the final over of the innings. Ireland reached a respectable 110/9 in 20 overs with Paul (45) and Kelly (35) making crucial contributions.

Despite the strong bowling performance, Scotland needed to keep a good Irish bowling attack at bay to make it to its first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

Megan McColl began with a bang for Scotland in the run-chase, racing away to 25 off 23 balls in the Powerplay. Scotland was firmly in the driving seat with 41 runs in the first six overs and all ten wickets intact.

McColl unfurled a flurry of impressive shots, including a brilliant scoop, as Scotland raced towards the target in style. 

Kelly found a wicket for Ireland when Saskia Horley’s attempted scoop went wrong, the inside edge seeing the ball crash onto the stumps. 

But Bryce stepped in at No.3 to join McColl and the duo continued to punish Ireland’s bowling with frequent boundaries. 

McColl completed a terrific fifty off 46 balls in the 15th over as Scotland edged closer to the target. Kelly, though, cleaned her up off the very next ball as she missed a heave towards the leg side.

The Bryce sisters, though, carried the team home and to the Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this year without further hiccups. Kathryn hit the winning runs as Scotland celebrated a massive triumph.

This will be Scotland’s first appearance at the Women’s T20 World Cup. It will be joined by the winner of the other semifinal clash between Sri Lanka and UAE.

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