McColl, Richardson headline final day as Scotland win T20 Europe Qualifiers; Ireland finish second

Megan McColl (L) and Eimear Richardson © Cricket Scotland/ Ireland Cricket Twitter

Megan McColl registered best bowling figures for Scotland with a five-wicket haul as they romped home to a clinical seven-wicket win against France to top the table in the T20 World Cup Europe Qualifier at the La Manga Club Top Ground in Cartagena, Spain on Monday (August 30). In the second match of the day, Ireland defended a moderate total against Netherlands to finish second in the table at the Bottom Ground thanks to a 53 from Eimear Richardson scoring and an all-round bowling performance. Scotland will go through to the Global Qualifier for the T20 World Cup 2023.

Once Scotland elected to field, France continued to find it difficult to hold themselves as a batting unit. They were rooted to the crease and was happy to play out the overs with Kathryn Bryce and Priyanaz Chatterji not providing them with any loose balls.

Openers Tara Britton and Jennifer King played out the first ten overs scoring only 14 runs. Eventually King became McColl’s first victim in the 11th over when she was caught by Katie McGill. After Hannah Rainey accounted for Marie Emmanuelle Violleau in the next over, McColl ran through France line-up striking twice each in her last two overs to finish with astonishing figures of 4-1-3-5.

McColl first removed Britton for four off 41 with Sarah Bryce taking a sharp catch behind the wicket and then added Thea Graham to her list in the same over before claiming the wickets of Lara Aramas and Magali Marchello in her final over.

France were eventually skittled out for 24 in 17.4 overs. Apart from McColl’s five-wickets, Abbi Aitken-Drummond took two wickets for Scotland.

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Chasing only 25 runs to finish unbeaten in the event, Scotland started aggressively with Lorna Jack hitting a four in the third ball and Sarah following it up with a six. But Violleau stuck twice in the same over to remove The Bryce sisters in the space of three balls to give France some solace.

Although Scotland lost McGill in the first ball of the next over, McColl’s boundary and a wide from Cindy Breteche brought up their win with plenty of overs to spare.

Put into bat in the potential match for the second place in the tournament, Ireland found themselves in early trouble with the Netherlands opening bowler Iris Zwilling striking thrice to remove three big wickets inside the power play. She first trapped Rebecca Stokell in front of the wicket for eight in the third over before sending Laura Delany and Leah Paul for ducks in the space of three deliveries in the fifth over to reduce Ireland to 20 for three.

From there, Gaby Lewis – who started with a big six off Marloes Braat before becoming subdued with wickets falling at the other end – and Richardson resurrected the innings with a 60-run partnership. After steadying the ship to take the score to 44 for three from ten overs, the duo broke free with Richardson hitting Frederique Overdijk for two fours before Lewis swept her for a boundary in the 11th over. Richardson was the aggressor of the two as she smashed Caroline de Lange through mid-wicket for a four and added another boundary off Silver Siegers.

Just as it looked like the duo would put Ireland into a dominant position, introduction of Eva Lynch saw them going through another collapse. In her second over, Lynch struck in consecutive deliveries to remove Lewis for 32 and the big-hitting Orla Prendergast for a duck. Ireland slipped to 82 for 6 with Lara Maritz becoming the fourth duck of the innings as she lost her wicket to Silver.

In the 18th over, Sophie MacMahon was castled by Lynch for six and only five runs came from the penultimate over as Ireland brought their score to three-figure mark. Richardson was unperturbed at the other end and got to her fifty with a six over mid-on off but became Lynch’s fourth wicket as she was dismissed for a well-made 53 off 49 balls. 11 runs came in the final over as Ireland finished on 111 for nine from their 20 overs.

For Netherlands, Lynch was the most successful bowler with figures of four for 24 while Zwilling finished with an impressive three for 14 from her four overs.

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Chasing 112 for a second place, Netherlands lost Heather Siegers early Ava Canning accounting for her in the 3rd over with only ten runs on the board. Robine Rijke continued her impressive run in the tournament as she smashed Canning over long-off for a six but Babette de Leede was struggling at the other end with only 23 runs coming in the power play.

Even though Rijke tried to keep Netherlands in game with a couple of boundaries against Delany as they got to fifty in the 12th over. However, Delany struck in the next over to remove de Leede as her laborious innings came to an end at 12 off 31 balls.

Cara Murray’s introduction into the attack completely derailed the Netherlands’ chase as they lost three wickets including the big one of Rijke in her first over. Murray had the set batter caught by Prendergast with her second delivery for 32 before she got the better of Miranda Veringmeier in the next ball. She further dented Netherlands’ innings when castled Overdijk for a duck.

It was Delany’s turn in the next over to affect multiple strikes as she sent Juliet Post and Lynch back to the pavilion in consecutive deliveries. From 59 for seven, Netherlands never recovered and was eventually finished the innings on 87 for nine – 24 runs short of the target – to give Ireland the second place in the competition.

For Ireland, Murray finished with figures of three for nine while Delany ended her spell with three for 17 from her four overs.

Brief Scores:

France 24/10 in 17.4 overs (Megan McColl 5/3, Abbi Aitken-Drummond 2/3) lost to Scotland 25/3 in 2.2 overs (Marie Emmanuelle Violleau 2/11) by 7 wickets POTM: Megan McColl

Ireland 111/9 in 20 overs (Eimear Richardson 53, Gaby Lewis 32; Eva Lynch 4/24) beat Netherlands 87/9 in 20 overs (Robine Rijke 32; Cara Murray 3/9, Laura Delany 3/17) by 24 runs POTM: Eimear Richardson POTS: Eimear Richardson