Jess Watkin hits a half-century on her debut. ©Cricket Ireland
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Both the teams stepped onto the cricket field, after a several months long, much needed break. The series commenced, with the only T20. No doubt, the White ferns were the favourites before the match itself, with a stronger team on paper, but the starting luck favoured Ireland as they won the toss and elected to bat first. That luck didn’t last long though, as Ireland lost their first wicket on the second ball of the innings. Tahuhu got the first breakthrough in form of Shillington.

Despite Ireland’s tries to reconstruct the innings, spin sensation Kasperek bagged a wicket in her 1st over itself. Gaby and Cecelia Joyce were steadily constructing the innings, until Tahuhu halted inform batter Cecelia Joyce on 30(29). Isobel Joyce from the start was looking in fine touch, hitting boundaries all over the ground. Ireland managed to recover a little though, as Gaby Lewis kept one end stable and got good support from Kavanagh, and they steadily kept the numbers rising on the scoreboard.

In the 17th over, however, Anna Peterson made a strike and broke the partnership, as Kavanagh got stumped by Bernadine. After Kavanagh, the queue of wickets started, as the lower order collapsed. Although other batters failed to make a mark, Gaby Lewis single-handedly took Ireland to a respectable score of 136/8. Her quickfire innings of 61(45) were a show to watch. All the bowlers bowled exceptionally well, but Tahuhu’s class and Kasperek’s spin was just the icing on the cake. They together bagged 5 wickets. Anna Peterson and Hannah Rowe also picked up a single wicket each.

Now it was the turn of the mighty White Ferns. It was not a daunting task for them to chase down such a low total. Suzie Bates and Jess Watkin opened the innings for New Zealand. From the start itself, Suzie and Jess started smashing the Ireland bowlers all around the park. Ireland tried their best but none of the bowlers was able to give a breakthrough to the team. And how would be it possible, in front of such star batters?

The Ireland bowlers were in the helpless situation. Amy Kenealy was the most economical bowler from Ireland’s side. Both the opening batters comfortably chased down the total within 11 overs, without the loss of a single wicket. Suzie Bates fiery innings of 63*(29) and Jess Watkin’s 77*(38) helped New Zealand win the match comfortably with 10 wickets remaining.