The Ireland women’s cricket team thrashed Zimbabwe by 12 runs, thanks to an all-round performance by batting all-rounders IHMC Joyce and Rachel Delaney. Both the teams faced off in a crucial encounter in the 3-match ODI series at Harare South Country Club, in Harare.
On opting to bat first, Ireland lost 4 quick wickets for just 35 runs, but after which they recovered to put on a mammoth partnership of 171 runs, with Joyce and Delaney playing some unbelievable cricket. This was Delaney’s first runs of the tournament, and the top-order batter stuck a half-century in 125 balls, hitting 5 fours with a decent strike rate of 54.40.
Delaney was joined by Joyce to pull back Ireland into the game before which 4 wickets fell in a quick succession. Joyce’s innings was the best innings of her international career so far, during which she stuck 9 boundaries with an impressive strike-rate of 90.09.
Delaney had to end her knock unfortunately with a run-out, and Joyce missed her century narrowly when Ireland posted a total of 207 runs to defend. Zimbabwe bowled 20 extras during the 1st innings when AC Mushangwe picked a couple of wickets.
Zimbabwe was put to chase a moderate target of 208 to win, but they didn’t have a chance to steady the innings and score with ease. Only three of their batswomen namely – Mupachikwa, P Marange, JN Nkomo could play some decent knocks to keep the scoreboard ticking. The wicket-keeper cum batter Mupachikwa was the sole batter to hit an impressive fifty striking 6 classic boundaries in her innings. The other players could not resist Ireland’s bowling attack as the Zimbabwe team was wrapped up for 195 runs in 47 overs. Delaney also shined with the ball by picking 3 crucial wickets. Pace specialist AJ Kenealy attacked the Zimbabwe batting line-up with her swing and pace to pick 2 wickets in the match. Joyce also impressed with her bowling skills by grabbing 1 wicket to her name.
Zimbabwe has to improve on it’s batting prior to the final decider on 5th February, and Ireland will have to work better on their strategy while batting as they must no longer rely individual knocks of brilliance but should focus on putting in a full-team performance.
Ireland(Batting): Joyce-91(101), Rachel Delaney- 68(125)
Zimbabwe(Bowling): AC Mushangwe-2/45, P Marange-1/11
Zimbabwe(Batting): M Mupachikwa-51(51), P Marange-37(37)
Ireland(Bowling): Rachel Delaney-3/33, AJ Kenealy-2/17