Katie McGill helps Scotland defend low score on their international return

Kalyani Mangale
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Scotland Team. ©Twitter/Cricket Scotland

Katie McGill’s all-round performance along with record-equalling stumpings by Sarah Bryce helped Scotland win a a low-scoring thriller against Ireland in the first T20I at Civil Service Cricket Club Stormont in Belfast on Monday (May 24).

Opting to bat after winning the toss, Scotland looked rusty from the start on their return to international cricket after a gap of more than 18 months. Ava Canning, one of the debutants for Ireland, was on the money right away as she removed right-hander Becky Glen in the second over with an inswinger. Captain Kathryn Bryce joined her sister Sarah Bryce at 3 but tight bowling by Orla Prendergast and Canning saw them struggle in the power play. A direct hit by Celeste Raack in the 6th over made Scotland slip further as they lost Sarah for 14. Scotland could score only 22 for 2 at the end of the power play.

From there, Kathryn struggled to find any gaps in the field and finally was dismissed giving Lara Maritz a simple return catch in the ninth over to leave Scotland reeling with the score reading only 35. In the the 12th over, they lost young Ailsa Lister for six with Celeste Raack striking for the first time in the match.

Katie McGill was the only Scottish player who looked comfortable at the crease. She scored 20 off 22 balls including two fours. Scotland could not form a single solid partnership and commendable fielding performance by Ireland did not help their cause either. Laura Delany’s double strike in the 16th over made sure there was no late fightback from Scotland.

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For Ireland, leg-spinner Raack was the pick of the bowlers as she took 3 for 15 from her three overs while Delany took two wickets.

In reply, Ireland started on a positive note in the first over when Gaby Lewis’ pull shot went for a boundary. Lewis didn't last long as she was trapped in front by Kathryn. Delany first partnered with Rebecca Stokell and later with wicket-keeper Shauna Kavanagh but they struggled to keep the scoreboard moving.

With the dot ball pressure was mounting, 16-year-old Katherine Fraser struck twice in the 11th over to remove Delany and Kavanagh in the space of three deliveries. Prendergast, who scored her maiden List A in the on going Super 50 series, was next to depart as she became McGill's first victim. Soon they lost Amy Hunter too with Sarah stumping her off McGill.

From 41 for 6, Ireland could never recover although Leah Paul and Raack added 26 runs for the eighth wicket. Needing 13 runs from the last over with two wickets in hand, they lost both the remaining wicket in consecutive balls as Scotland finished the hosts' innings at 76 in 19.3 overs.

Scotland’s impressive overall fielding efforts were topped by Kathryn’s one-handed catch off McGill to remove Martiz and three run-outs. McGill was the most impressive bowler with figures of 3 for 18 from her four overs while captain Kathryn Bryce and Katherine Fraser took two wickets each.

Brief Scorecard: Scotland 87/9 in 20 Overs ( Katie McGill 20; Celeste Raack 3/15) beat Ireland 76 in 19.3 Overs Leah Paul 18; Katie McGill 3/18, Kathryn Bryce 2/8) by 11 runs. POTM: Katie McGill