Plucky Ireland see off Netherlands to keep qualification hopes alive in Harare
An inspired all-round performance by Ireland Women’s captain Laura Delany led her side to a crucial World Cup qualifier victory over the Netherlands in Harare on Thursday.
Delany struck 75 from 75 balls and claimed 1-24 from 10 overs in a masterful display of leadership and guile as Ireland won by 29 runs.
“It was closer than we would have like it to have been,” said Delany.
“We definitely wanted to put more runs on the board but I think in the field and with the ball we’re capable of taking wickets and restricting sides so hopefully this is just the start.”
Orla Prendergast took 4-24 as Ireland bowled the Dutch out for 170 after setting a total of 199 ahead of Monday’s clash with Sri Lanka in their final group match.
Delany top-scored with 75 while opener Gaby Lewis had an innings of 46 from 47 balls.
Delany struck her third international half-century in the 50-over format from just 47 balls, and looked to push on further after the loss of Richardson (27).
The skipper punched two boundaries through the covers and looked to be ready to accelerate further until she played around her pad to Silver Siegers to also fall leg before for 75 off 75 balls.
Siegers then cleaned up the tail, finishing with figures of 4-24, and Ireland was all out for 199 in the 42nd over.
Eimear Richardson wrapped up the Netherlands innings with her first wicket of the day, but the team performance - under the on-field leadership of Delany – stood out most impressively, and going into Monday’s final Group Stage match against Sri Lanka, head coach Ed Joyce will be pleased with the way his side handled the pressure and saw out the win.
The top three teams in each of the two groups go through to the Super 6 stage.
And with group stage points carrying over, the top three will qualify for the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand.
On Monday, victory over Sri Lanka at the same Sunrise Sports Club venue in Harare would secured Ireland’s place in the next phase, while a win for the West Indies against the Netherlands would also see Ireland through in their bid to qualify for the tournament next year.
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