Hosts France outclass Spain and Austria to finish on a high
Hosts France ended their T20I quadrangular series campaign with a flourish as they bagged two consecutive wins over Spain and Austria respectively on the final day of the event at the Dreux Sport Cricket Club on Sunday, (May 8).
France vs Spain
Spain won the toss and asked France’s captain Marie Emmanuelle Violleau to set a target on the board in the first match of the day. Before the pair of Lara Armas and Pooja Ganesh could break loose, Uswa Syed struck for Spain. Syed clean bowled Armas on the first delivery of the fourth over.
Armas’ dismissal brought Alix Brodin to the crease. Brodin looked in full flow from the outset as she struck Syed for two consecutive boundaries on the first two balls that she faced.
Meanwhile, Ganesh dealt in singles to make sure that Brodin kept the bulk of the strike. But just when it appeared that Brodin would propel the hosts to a big total, Jaspreet Kaur put an end to her heroic display. Kaur got rid of the dangerous-looking Brodin in the tenth over, and brought Spain back in the hunt.
France suffered another massive blow when Ganesh was forced to retire hurt right before the commencement of the 15th over. At that it seemed as if Violleau’s side will not get to the kind of total that they had in mind. But a consolidated batting effort from the lower middle-order helped them achieve 163 at the end of their innings.
Wania Malik kept picking up wickets towards the fag end of France’s innings and thereby kept their run rate in check. Her disciplined bowling display saw her bag a three-wicket haul.
Chasing 164 to win, Spain got off to a horrendous start. They lost both Kaur and Amy Brown-Carrera in quick successions and had France breathing down their neck upfront.
The duo of Muskan Naseeb and Elspeth Fowler were forced to act conservatively and hence the required run rate started mounting. While Naseeb fell for an individual score of ten in the act of breaking the shackles, Fowler continued with a defensive approach.
Fowler was then joined by Syed in the middle. Both batters never tried to press their feet on the accelerator and remained unbeaten right till the end as Spain could only manage 97 in their 20 overs and lost the game by 66 runs.
France vs Austria
France continued their winning momentum in the second game of the day as they routed Austria by 59 runs. A victory in the first match of the day also brought a change in fortunes for France as captain Violleau won the toss and decided to bat first.
France were forced to make Ganesh sit out of the game because of the injury she sustained during the first match of the day. But that didn’t haunt the hosts at all.
The duo of Tara Britton and Armas got their side off to a steady and strong start. They put together a 105-run stand and gave France the upper hand. Armas bettered her performance after missing out against Spain earlier in the day and scored 39 off 41 balls.
Austria finally managed to break the partnership as they sent Armas packing in the form of a run out in the 14th over. Unfazed even after losing her partner, Britton continued to accelerate the scoring rate. She was bolstered by the arrival of Brodin at the wicket as Brodin scored 22 runs at a strike rate of 122.22 to help France post 167 runs on the board. Britton remained unbeaten on 68 off 63 balls.
In pursuit of the total, the pair of Büsra Uca and Mallika Pathirannehelage began watchfully and added 35 runs. But before Austria could make use of an unscathed beginning, France jolted them with three quick dismissals.
Skipper Violleau removed Pathirannehelage in the sixth over to break the opening stand. In the very next over Poppy Mcgeown picked up two wickets on consecutive deliveries as she dismissed Uca and Gandhali Bapat.
Austria could never recover from those jitters as they folded for 108 runs in 20 overs to provide France a double reason to celebrate. The pair of Mcgeown and Lydie Templeman picked up two wickets each and played a crucial role in helping the hosts emerge victorious by 59 runs.
France 163/5 in 20 overs (Pooja Ganesh 32, Alix Brodin 32; Wania Malik 3/18) beat Spain 97/3 in 20 overs (Elspeth Fowler 42*; Lydie Templeman 1/15) by 66 runs
France 167/2 in 20 overs (Tara Britton 68*, Lara Armas 39; Mallika Pathirannehelage 1/24) beat Austria 108 all out in 20 overs (Mallika Pathirannehelage 20; Lydie Templeman 2/18, Poppy Mcgeown 2/18) by 59 runs