Rain thwarts Irish ambition in run chase
February 21st 2023 by Wisden | International, Women
PORT ELIZABETH - Ireland’s final match of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 ended in a five-run defeat on the DLS method, a battling effort thwarted by rain.
Gaby Lewis’s 35* brought Ireland to within touching distance of the par score before the weather, which had been threatening all game, forced the players off the field.
Earlier, India opted to bat after winning the toss, the first time they set a total in the tournament. Shafali Verma and Smriti Mandhana got India off to a steady start though, and ticked along at just shy of seven runs per over as they put together an opening stand of 62 before the breakthrough came.
Captain Laura Delany was the bowler to strike, removing Verma thanks to a good catch by Amy Hunter coming in off the boundary. The pressure didn’t let up for the Ireland bowlers, however, with Harmanpreet Kaur playing the anchor role and allowing Mandhana to take some risks at the other end. The two shared a 52-run partnership in the 6.2 overs they were together in the middle.
But once again Delany led from the front, breaking the partnership by dismissing Kaur with a brilliant low catch from Orla Prendergast, before taking the wicket of Richa Ghosh for a golden duck in the same over. Another fine catch did for Ghosh, Lewis this time the fielder at full-stretch - with the wind beginning to gust strongly enough to blow over the advertising boards and marquees on the boundary edge.
Mandhana’s innings finally came to an end in the penultimate over of the innings as she became the second batter to be caught by Lewis. She finished on 87 off 56, her highest T20I score and 22nd half-century.
Deepti Sharma was caught first ball at cover as Prendergast claimed a brace of wickets at the death. Jemimah Rodrigues was stumped from the final ball of the innings to set Ireland a chase of 156 to win.
The Ireland innings got off to a less than ideal start, however, as Hunter was run-out from the very first ball of the innings, well short of making it back for the second. Prendergast - the standout of the tournament for Ireland - was clean bowled without adding to the score in the same over.
Rebuilding from a score of 1-2, Lewis and Delaney put on 53 runs in 45 balls before rain brought a halt to proceedings. It was Ireland’s second-ever fifty-run partnership at the Women’s T20 World Cup, following on from Lewis and Prendergast’s 90-run stand in the previous match against West Indies.
Lewis was the aggressor in the partnership, she made effective use of the sweep against India’s spinners. Most notably she hit a pair of boundaries off Deepti Sharma in the final over of the powerplay – the second a powerful shot hit just behind square.
Unfortunately with the field dropping back both batters couldn’t find the extra boundaries they needed to get ahead of the DLS target score, and when the rain came Ireland were five runs behind the target of 59.
With the weather refusing to lift for long enough for a restart, no more play was possible. A hard-to-take defeat to end Ireland’s campaign, denied the opportunity to see the chase home.
Ireland v India, T20 World Cup, St George’s Park, Gqeberha, 20 February 2023
India 155-6 (20 overs; Smriti Mandhana 87, Shafali Verma 24, Laura Delany 3-33)
Ireland 54-2 (8.2 overs; Gaby Lewis 32*, Laura Delany 17*, Renuka Singh 1-10)
India won by 5 runs (DLS method)