Ireland beat Zimbabwe to qualify for 2023 T20 World Cup – The Irish Times

Ireland (137-6, 20 overs) (Orla Prendergast 28, Rebecca Stokell 26; Nomvelo Sibanda 2-24) beat Zimbabwe (133-6, 20 overs) (Sharne Mayers 39, Mary-Anne Musonda 31) by four runs. Full scorecard here.

A late cameo from Rebecca Stokell ensured Ireland had enough runs on the board to squeeze past Zimbabwe in the semi-final of their qualifying tournament in the UAE and book their place in next year’s T20 World Cup in South Africa. It will be the first time Ireland participate in the global showpiece since 2018.

After being put in to bat at the toss, Ireland’s top order struggled to recreate the fluency of the previous game, Orla Prendergast the only one in the top four to score quicker than a run a ball as her usual strength through extra-cover was on display. Gaby Lewis – like Prendergast – did clear the ropes over the leg side but when she, Amy Hunter, Prendergast and Eimear Richardson had all departed with 96 runs on the board and just four overs remaining, a shot in the arm was needed from the lower order.

Which is exactly what they got from Stokell, the Merrion batter from the off powering Zimbabwe’s spinners down the ground and over mid wicket, her unbeaten effort of 26 off 12 balls at a strike rate of 217 launching Ireland to a competitive total.

In response, Zimbabwe got off to a circumspect start as Jane Maguire struck twice in the powerplay, bowling Kedlis Ndlovu and getting Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano to spoon one into Cara Murray’s hands on the off-side.

Zimbabwe did fight back through Sharne Mayers (39), captain Mary-Anne Musonda (31) and later via a Modester Mupachikwa cameo (17 off 12). Overs 14 and 15 looked to have swung the game Zimbabwe’s way, Musonda and Mupachikwa taking 21 runs off the bowling of Delany and Murray, boundaries through extra cover doing most of the damage.

However, Arlene Kelly bowled Mayers, Musonda was stumped off the bowling of Murray and Kelly later returned to clean up Mupachikwa. In the closing stages, a required run-rate of ten an over proved too much as Kelly continued her good form bowling full at the death in tandem with Eimear Richardson who had success coming around the wicket and pushing the ball away from the right-hander.

Akin to Wednesday’s win over Scotland, Ireland acknowledged after the fact that this was not their best performance. Dropped chances in the field were again a feature, but significantly, the innings of Stokell offered a solution to this batting line-up’s biggest weakness. Ever since Orla Prendergast moved up the order, power hitting at the death has been inconsistent at best, but Stokell put up her hand for the role of finisher with her match-winning efforts.

“Rebecca looked like she was batting on a different wicket to everyone else,” said skipper Delany after the win. “She made it look so easy.

“As a group we should be really proud. We slipped in terms of our standards but these are the games you want to play, we’re just thrilled to get over the line. We’ll enjoy each other’s company tonight.”

With World Cup qualification assured, Ireland will play either Thailand or Bangladesh in the final of the qualifying tournament on Sunday.


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Publish date : 2022-09-23 14:37:21

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