Ireland openers Gaby Lewis (L) and Orla Prendergast added 112 for the opening wicket - the most for them for any wicket. © Cricket Ireland
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On the back of a blistering half-century from Gaby Lewis and cameos from the rest of the top order, Ireland posted their highest ever total in T20Is— a mammoth 213 for 4 against Netherlands at Sportpark Het Schootsveld in Deventer on Monday (August 12). However, their parade was well and truly rained on as the match had to be abandoned 2.4 overs in the second innings, but not before Laura Delany’s side had ticked off several milestones in the first innings.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat, Lewis and Orla Prendergast got off to a rollicking start with the former smashing Annemijin van Beuge for a boundary off her second delivery. The 18-year-old then proceeded to tear apart Iris Zwilling in the fifth over, collecting 16 runs, including back-to-back sixes. Within the powerplay, Ireland had raced to 66 for no loss.

Largely overshadowed by her partner, Prendergast continued to keep the scoring rate up, feeding Lewis the strike and sending the odd delivery past the fence. She played more of a supporting role, making sure both Ireland and Lewis didn’t lose their rhythm of scoring.

Ireland continued along at more than 10 runs an over, Lewis bringing up her third T20I fifty— off 28 balls— with a boundary off Eva Lynch in the eight over.

If Lewis’ approach before the fifty was attacking, what came after it was even more so. The right-hander collected two more sixes off the ninth over, as Ireland raced to 109 for no loss in nine overs.

Prendergast, who had quietly compiled a 26-ball 38, was finally dismissed in the tenth over by Leonie Bennet. By then the opening pair had set a new record for the highest partnership for any wicket for Ireland— 112 in 9.4 overs. Her dismissal however, did little to stem the flow of runs. Leah Paul came in and hit her stride immediately, racing to 13 off only four balls.

Just when Ireland were looking to step on the accelerator, they suffered a double blow, losing both Lewis and Paul in the space of two runs. The 18-year-old had by then notched up her highest score in T20Is, and also the second-highest T20I score for Ireland — a fast-paced 71 off 41 deliveries.

18-year-old left arm spinner Laura Bennett was the wrecker-in-chief, accounting for all the three wickets to fall at that point. She eventually would finish with 3/22 in her four overs, a far cry from the economy rate of the others who bowled.

With eight overs still to go, it seemed a familiar batting collapse from Ireland would be on display. However veteran wicketkeeper Mary Waldron and Rebecca Stokell, who is almost half Waldron’s age, combined to put on a hitting show. The duo added 67 in just six overs, during which only two overs were such, that single-digit runs were scored off them.

Soon, Ireland passed their highest T20I total against Netherland – the previous one was 179. But in the next over, the penultimate one of the innigs, Stokell’s blitz came to an end as, in a bid to hit Silver Siegers out of the park, she stepped out but missed the ball to get stumped. She walked back with a 24-ball 36 to her name with five fours.

Waldron and Laura Delany then combined in the final over to take 13 off it. The former finished unconquered on 31 off just 22 balls with three fours, while the latter finished on a three-ball eight, featuring a four. Ireland had managed to post 213/4 – their second highest total combining men’s as well as women’s matches.

In reply, Sterre Kalis and Babette de Leede began cautiously before the former fell for a run-a-ball nine, which eventually turned out to be the final ball of the match. Eimear Richardson, the 32-year-old off spinner, was the wicket-taker, trapping Kalis in front, before heavens opened up.

Netherlands got their first point on the board courtesy the washout. Ireland have three points after having played four games in the series. Both sides have a couple of games to go before the series comes to an end.

Brief Scores: Ireland 213/4 in 20 overs (Gaby Lewis 71, Orla Prendergast 38; Leonie Bennett 3/22) vs Netherlands 18/1 in 2.4 overs (Sterre Kalis 9; Eimear Richardson 1/5). Match washed out due to rain.