Double defeat brings Ireland down to earth with a bump

Ireland women's coach Trent Johnston
Ireland women's coach Trent Johnston

Ireland women suffered back-to-back defeats against South Africa and Pakistan in their latest games in the PCB Qatar International tri-series.

Lizelle Lee scored a Player-of-the match half century to lead South Africa to 119 for two in the first game. She shared an opening stand of 61 with Trisha Chetty (23) which meant Ireland were always on the back foot.

Following the loss of Lee for 50 from 63 balls (2 sixes, 2 fours), Marizanne Kapp (19*) and Mignon du Preez (18*) ensured a late burst adding 31 in the final three overs.

Laura Delany, who along with Louise McCarthy was winning her 50th cap, was the most successful of the Irish bowlers taking two for 33.

Ireland’s batters struggled in the face of the accurate South African attack, struggling to 73 for eight in their allotted overs, with wicket-keeper Mary Waldron top scoring with 13.

Dane van Niekerk (3-15) and Marizanne Kapp (2-9) were best with the ball for South Africa in the 46 run win.

In the evening game, Ireland were unable to replicate their heroics of Sunday, as Pakistan gained revenge in their 21 run win.

Nain Abidi top scored with an impressive 56 from 58 balls as Pakistan racked up an imposing 132 for five.

Sana Mir chipped in with a breezy 23 from just 12 balls, as Ireland wilted in the closing overs.

Ireland, missing Cecelia Joyce through injury, battled bravely, but in the end fell just 21 runs short thanks to Elena Tice’s highest international score.

She made an unbeaten 44, while Isobel Joyce hit 36 from just 35 balls in a valiant run chase.

Ireland are back in action on Wednesday when they face South Africa in the final group game.

Sunday’s remarkable win over Pakistan was built around a fine partnership from the Joyce sisters.

Chasing 98, Ireland got home with two balls to spare thanks to an unbeaten 30 from Cecelia Joyce, who shared a vital partnership of 44 with twin sister Isobel (28).

Clare Shillington (15) had got Ireland off to a quick start, but her dismissal saw Ireland falter from 33 for one to 35 for three.

Once the Joyce sisters had been separated Melissa Scott-Hayward held her nerve, providing excellent support for Cecelia Joyce, scoring the winning run to set off great scenes of jubilation in the Irish camp.

Ireland’s bowlers and fielders performed heroically in restricting strong favourites Pakistan to 97 for 4 in their 20 overs.

The Irish wicket takers were Isobel Joyce (1-12), Louise McCarthy (1-15), and Elena Tice (1-23), while Lucy O’Reilly enhanced her reputation as a superb fielder with yet another run out.

It was a first win for new coach Trent Johnston, who praised the character shown by the team following heavy defeats in the one-day series last week.

“I can’t compliment the girls enough for their attitude and commitment over the past week. There’s no doubt everyone was pretty low after the defeats in the ODI series,” he said.

“Myself and Mark Lane worked hard at making sure we restored their confidence and self-belief during training this past four days.

“We made sure everyone had clarity over their roles in T20 cricket, and to be fair to the squad they’ve all bought it into, with everyone really responding to their tasks.

“It’s always a challenge stepping off a plane and mostly indoor practice straight into an ODI series.”

against two top quality sides. The players have learned quickly and responded well to the challenge.