It was the 1st Semi Final of the ICC World T20 Qualifiers; where Ireland took on Papua New Guinea to seal the place in the final and also in the T20 World Cup in the West Indies later this year. So far, unbeaten team, Ireland continued their winning streak and smashed a 27 run victory over PNG.
PNG got a big blow before the match started; their captain Pauke Siaka was dropped from the team due to the internal disciplinary action. Kaia Arua led the side in her place. After winning the toss, PNG chose to field first.
Ireland has been very much dependent on their opener Clare Shillington, their player of the match in the first two games. But Mairi Tom had other plans as she picked up Shillington’s wicket in the second ball of the innings and handed over the first breakthrough to her team. Cecelia Joyce and Gaby Lewis started building the partnership before Joyce was dismissed by stand-in captain Kaia Arua.
Later, a direct throw sent in-form Lewis to the pavilion. It was not an ideal start for Ireland as they could manage only 62 runs by the end of the 13th over. They lost another wicket cheaply and were reduced to 74-4 in the 15th over. Though Ireland tried to accelerate their innings but wonderful fielding and bowling of PNG restricted them to 113 on board.
Vicky Arra picked up 2 wickets. Top and Arua bagged a wicket each for PNG.
While chasing, it was not a good start too for PNG. The team lost their openers cheaply and managed to score 14 runs in the powerplay. Some tight bowling and fielding from Ireland restricted PNG’s innings very well. Two wickets in Delany’s 3rd over destroyed PNG’s dream to qualify for the final. Fall of wickets at regular intervals ended PNG’s innings within 86 with four balls to spare.
For Ireland, Lucy O’Reilly scalped 3 wickets. Richardson and skipper Delany picked up 2 each. Metcalfe and Joyce bagged 1 wicket each.
Lucy O’Reilly was adjudged the ‘Player of The Match’ for her wonderful spell. Ireland have thus successfully booked their place in the final and will play their next match on 14th July.