World T20 place confirmed: Ireland defeat PNG to qualify
Ireland have secured a spot at the Women's World Twenty20 after beating Papua New Guinea by 27 runs in the qualifier semi-finals in Amstelveen.
It was make or break as only the winning semi-finalists would make the November tournament in the West Indies.
Gaby Lewis top scored with 36 and Laura Delany added 21 as Ireland posted a modest 113-6 in their 20 overs.
Papua New Guinea were in good shape at 64-4 but Lucy O’Reilly took 3-13 as they slumped to 86 all out.
Ireland topped their group in the Netherlands and were favourites to overcome Papua New Guinea and take one of the two places available for the Women’s World Twenty20.
Opener Clare Shillington was out for a duck and Papua New Guinea put down three chances in the next two overs as the Irish rode their luck.
Ireland steadily recovered through Cecelia Joyce (18), Lewis and Delany while Isobel Joyce, Kim Garth and Shauna Kavanagh each hit 10 runs.
Vicky Araa claimed 2-23 as Papua New Guinea kept Ireland’s run-rate in check with only Lewis scoring at more than a run a ball.
Papua New Guinea struggled early at 7-2 and the runs came slowly thanks to tight bowling from the Ireland attack.
Brenda Tau made 22 as they reached 64-4 after 15.1 overs but they added just 22 more runs and were dismissed with four balls remaining.
O’Reilly was the pick of the Irish bowlers while captain Delany took 2-15 and Eimear Richardson 2-22.
Ireland will take on Bangladesh in Saturday’s final with the qualification for the Women’s World Twenty20 already achieved.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic, and judging by the reaction after the game, everyone is thrilled to get the win her,” said Delany.
“Our main focus coming in was not just to qualify but win the qualifier tournament like in 2015.
“There were a few nerves around because there was so much at stake on this game, but this is the best sporting team that I’ve been involved in.”