Ireland 99-1 (CMA Shillington 47, KE Bryce 1 for 24) beat Scotland 98-2 (SJ Bryce 49*, L Delany 1 for 13) by 9 wickets
Ireland made it two wins from two at the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier as they came out on top in the battle of the Celtic nations at the VRA Cricket Club in Amstelveen. Despite Sarah Bryce’s unbeaten 49, a 90-run partnership from Clare Shillington and Cecelia Joyce put the seal onto a thoroughly professional display from their side as Ireland cemented their place at the top of Group B.
After winning the toss and electing to bowl first, Ireland’s seam-and-spin combination of Isobel Joyce and Eimar Richardson got their side away to an excellent start as Scotland openers Sarah Bryce and Lorna Jack struggled to break the shackles of a miserly opening spell. The pair conceded just 13 runs from the first four overs, and when Jack (7) was caught at point by Irish captain Laura Delany off Lucy O’Reilly’s first ball of the match, Scotland, at 15 for 1 in the sixth, needed an answer.
Sarah, now joined by her sister Kathryn, looked to provide it. The ninth over began with back-to-back boundaries for the wicketkeeper-batsman, a clip over midwicket being followed by a trademark drive down the ground, and with Kathryn also finding the rope to take the Scotland total to 50, the fightback began to gain momentum.
With the run-rate increasing Scotland were pegged back once more, however, as Kathryn (12) was caught in the covers, O’Reilly completing the catch off Delany’s bowling. Sarah (49*) and Rachel Scholes (16*) fought well to see their side through to the end, the latter paddle-sweeping a four in the final over, but after being restricted to only four boundaries over the course of the innings Scotland went into the field knowing that they needed a similar performance themselves.
Faced with a required run-rate of just under five an over the experienced opening pair of Clare Shillington and Cecelia Joyce made their intentions clear, however, as Shillington took back-to-back boundaries off the second and third balls of the innings. The thirty-seven-year-old followed her Player of the Match performance against Thailand with another fine knock here, and with Joyce also showing her class as she drove Hannah Rainey through the covers, Ireland passed fifty in untroubled fashion.
Scotland continued to fight hard and claimed a reward at the start of the fifteenth as Shillington (47) was clean-bowled by Kathryn Bryce, but by then Ireland required only nine runs for the victory. Joyce (35*) and Gaby Lewis (8*) duly saw it home as Ireland wrapped up the win with more than four overs to spare.
Speaking after the match, Scotland’s Sarah Bryce was quick to praise Ireland’s bowlers.
“I’m really pleased to get some runs but credit to Ireland, they bowled really well,” she said. “They made it difficult to score and we were obviously a few short at the end.
“We got a bit stuck in the first five overs and then we couldn’t really take the strike as much as we would have liked in the middle overs, but we had a decent last few to get us up to a total that at least gave us a chance in the second innings.
“We have a day off to rest up now,” she continued. “We’ll hopefully see a bit of Holland and then get ready to go again.”
With a win and a loss but the highest net run-rate of all the teams in Group B, second-placed Scotland’s progression to the semi-finals of the tournament has been all but assured thanks to Uganda’s four-wicket win over Thailand. The Scots will take nothing for granted, but they go into their final group match against Thailand on Tuesday with their dream of World T20 qualification still very much alive.