Friday 30 September 2016

Double victory sets up Zimbabwe showdown

David Townsend

Published 30/11/2015 | 02:30

Ireland captain Isobel Joyce turned things around against China in a chirpy stand of 40 with Laura Delany
Ireland captain Isobel Joyce turned things around against China in a chirpy stand of 40 with Laura Delany

Ireland's women have reached the latter stages of the ICC World T20 qualifiers with a game to spare after recording back-to-back victories over The Netherlands and China in Bangkok, but they will be desperate to complete a clean sweep of Group B when they meet unbeaten Zimbabwe tomorrow.

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The winner of that clash will have the easier task in the do-or-die qualifying deciders - probably needing to beat Scotland to reach the World T20 finals in India in March, while the losers are all but guaranteed to face tournament favourites Bangladesh.

Ireland saw off the Dutch with eight wickets and more than eight overs to spare, and then secured a 28-run victory over a surprisingly resilient China.

"You can't do better than two wins from two," said captain Isobel Joyce.

Joyce chose to bat against China and may have been ruing the decision when the fourth wicket went down on 34 in the 10th over but she turned things around in a chirpy stand of 40 with Laura Delany, and a couple of fours in the final over took Ireland to an imposing 104-6.

"It was hard going in those early overs against their slow bowlers," added Joyce. "The pitch was sticking and there was no pace on the ball and we were having to force it. It did get easier the longer you stayed out there, though."

Tight bowling at the start of the reply, including successive maidens from Ciara Metcalfe, tightened the grip and medium-pacer Lucy O'Reilly collected a couple of wickets to back up her excellent spell of 0-8 from four overs against The Netherlands.

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