Gaby Lewis makes history as Ireland start Qualifier tournament with big win
LA MANGA CLUB, Spain – Gaby Lewis became the first Irish woman to score a century in T20 International cricket as Ireland registered a 164-run win over Germany in the opening game of the ICC T20 World Cup European Qualifier today.
Lewis struck 11 fours and three sixes in a remarkable 60-ball unbeaten innings of 105. Batting right through the innings in 29-degree heat, Lewis found able support in fellow opener Rebecca Stokell (44 from 30 balls) and captain Laura Delany (22 from 30 balls). The 98-run opening stand with Stokell came from just 9 overs to get the Irish innings off to a blistering start, while the 84-run second wicket partnership with Delany also came from 9 overs.
The Ireland total of 196-2 from 20 overs was their second-highest ever total (highest score: 213-4 v Netherlands, 2019), but was the highest T20I margin of victory achieved by an Ireland Women’s side (beating the previous best of 79 runs over Netherlands in 2019).
The game was delayed briefly for pitch maintenance, before Germany won the toss and elected to bowl. The Eagles soon were regretting that decision, as Lewis and Stokell plundered 79 runs in the first powerplay. Soon after Stokell departed, Lewis passed her previous best T20I score of 71 – an imperious innings, but tinged with some good fortune as the German side dropped several difficult chances.
Beginning to show signs of tiring in the heat, Lewis battled on to pass the next milestone, surpassing Nikki Symmons’ highest individual score of 86 in T20Is. With balls running out and a danger of Lewis missing out on a historic century, hit consecutive sixes in the 18th over, and then registered her century in the 19th over much to the joy of her teammates who erupted into applause.
Only two Irish cricketers have registered T20 international centuries – Kevin O’Brien (124 in 2019 v Hong Kong), and now Lewis.
With a 197-run target ahead, the German batters struggled to get to grips with the disciplined bowling display of the Irish attack, with only Christina Gough (14) getting to double figures, as the Irish bowlers restricted their counterparts to just 32-3 from 20 overs, with just a lone boundary struck.
Eimear Richardson (2-5) and Lara Maritz (1-1) were the wicket-takers, but all seven bowlers used contributed to the win.
Lewis claimed Player of the Match, and the side now turns its attention to Scotland in tomorrow’s second match of the tournament – the outcome of which that could decide the winner after the Scots successfully saw off the Netherlands today.
Ireland Women v Germany Women, ICC T20 World Cup European Qualifier, La Manga, 26 August 2021
Ireland 196-2 (20 overs; G Lewis 105*, R Stokell 44, L Delany 22: B Loch 1-21)
Germany 32-3 (20 overs; C Gough 14; E Richardson 2-5, L Maritz 1-1)
Ireland Women won by 164 runs