England down battling Ireland despite Murray, Lewis fight
February 13th 2023 by Wisden | International, Women
PAARL - A three-wicket haul to legspinner Cara Murray and a dominant 36 from opener Gaby Lewis weren’t enough for Ireland to stave off defeat to England in Ireland’s opening match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Lewis and Amy Hunter started positively after Ireland won the toss and elected to bat the pair picked up four boundaries off the first two overs, taking advantage of the pace on the ball before England brought their spinners on to bowl.
After Hunter (15) and Orla Prendergast (17) fell, the Irish side was still sitting nicely at 80-2 after 12 overs.
However, after Sophie Ecclestone dismissed both Lewis and Eimear Richardson with consecutive deliveries, the wickets began tumbling in a dramatic slide. In less than six overs, Ireland went from 80-2 to 105 all out. Louise Little hit Dean for a monster six straight back over the bowler’s head before she was dismissed the very next ball trying to repeat the maximum.
Mary Waldron, in the game she became Ireland Women’s most-capped player, opened her scoring with a memorable reverse-sweep, but she was trapped in front trying to sweep, one of Sarah Glenn’s three wickets today.
With a mighty performance in the field needed to restrict England’s packed batting lineup, Prendergast got Ireland off to a flying start. After pulling for an early boundary, Sophie Dunkley misjudged the length of her next delivery and was caught at mid-on by Arlene Kelly for four off five balls.
Despite their early setback, England began to pile on the runs at a rapid rate. Alice Capsey struck the third fastest fifty ever in women’s T20Is, and the fastest for England, hitting 11 boundaries in the powerplay before falling to Kelly attempting a second six.
Dani Wyatt was run out in the following over after a mix-up left her well short of her ground, but the damage was done with England 74-3 in the eighth over.
A fighting couple of overs followed from Murray, taking three wickets to stave off England’s victory until the 15th over. Nat Sciver-Brunt was Murray’s first victim, caught at long-off for five before she bagged Heather Knight and Amy Jones in the same over - three big scalps to open Murray’s account for the tournament.
Katherine Sciver-Brunt finished things off for England, however, hitting Kelly for four to reach their target.
Ireland’s second match will be against Pakistan at Newlands on Wednesday, 15 February.
Ireland v England, T20 World Cup Group B, Boland Park, Paarl, 13 February 2023
Ireland 105 (18.2 overs; Gaby Lewis 36, Orla Prendergast 17, Sophie Ecclestone 3-13)
England 107-6 (14.2 overs; Alice Capsey 51, Danni Wyatt 16, Cara Murray 3-15)
England won by 4 wickets