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Ireland claims dramatic win over world champs Australia in final warm-up match before T20 World Cup


CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Ireland Women completed a statement win in a thrilling match against Australia to complete their ICC Women’s T20 World Cup warm-up programme.
Set 167 to win, Ireland’s opening batters Gaby Lewis (11 off 11) and Amy Hunter (26 off 14), and then Orla Prendergast (26 off 15), came out all guns blazing, scoring 67 in the first seven overs to break the back of the chase.

At 81-4 approaching the halfway stage Australia would still have fancied their chances, but captain Laura Delany showed both her class and experience in her innings of 32 off 28 which was supported by Louise Little’s 21 off 16 and ensured Ireland still just stay in the hunt but remained ahead of the required rate.

Both would fall in quick succession however, and Mary Waldron (15 off 9) kept things going before Leah Paul (11* off 11) and Arlene Kelly (9* off 5) completed a victory that many will consider a surprise, but not the Irish fans who have seen the star of this side rise over the past 12-18 months.

Earlier in the morning Australia won the toss and opted to bat first on a Stellenbosch University surface that was good for batting. Ireland’s playing XI remained unchanged from the side that lost narrowly to Sri Lanka on Monday at the same venue.

Orla Prendergast opened the bowling for Ireland in a hostile spell, utilising a strong gusty breeze that blew across ground to shape the ball away from Australia’s left handed opener, Beth Mooney, who edged the first ball of the match ball onto her leg stump to set back Australia. Prendergast would return at the death to dismiss Meg Lanning, finishing with 2-19 from her four overs.

Australia batted in typically commanding fashion in between times as Ireland were made to toil. Alyssa Healy (62 off 40) and Tahlia McGrath (56 off 47) both retired out after putting on 135 off 83 balls. They were particularly aggressive towards Ireland’s spinners on an unhelpful surface, but Arlene Kelly (1-17 off three overs) and Jane Maguire (0-13 off two overs) were able to wrestle control over the scoring during their spells.

Australia may have felt they had enough runs at the break, but Ireland showed every bit the aggression and fearlessness Head Coach Ed Joyce has been instilling in this young side who will be encouraged not just to have gone toe-to-toe with the world champs, but to have completed a statement win that gives them momentum heading into their first ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Group match on Monday against England.


Ireland Women v Australia Women, Stellenbosch University 1, Cape Town, South Africa, 8 February 2023

Australia 168-3 (20 overs; A Healy 62, T McGrath 56; O Prendergast 2-19)
Ireland 169-7 (19.4 overs; L Delany 32, O Prendergast 26, A Hunter 26; M Schutt 2-16)

Ireland won by 3 wickets

See full scorecard

Rory Knox