Bowlers, Shauna Kavanagh help Ireland go 2-1 up against a hapless Scotland

Ireland celebrate a wicket © Oisin Keniry/Cricket Ireland

Allround bowling performance guided Ireland to an assailable 2-1 lead with a 41-run win over Scotland after Shauna Kavanagh’s 37 helped them set a target of 135 at the Civil Service Cricket Club, Stormont in Belfast on Wednesday (May 26).

Opting to bat after Laura Delany won her second consecutive toss, Ireland openers got off to a rapid start with Gaby Lewis scoring seven runs from the first two balls she faced including a boundary over mid-off. Rebecca Stokell also hit two boundaries as Scotland bowlers erred in line by keeping it too full. The hosts looked comfortably placed with the openers scoring 30 runs from the first five overs.

However, the introduction of spinners saw Scotland get immediate rewards with leg-spinner Abtaha Maqsood trapping Stokell in front of the wicket for 16. Even though Lewis reverse swept Maqsood for another boundary to take Ireland to 36, the highest score of the power play in the series so far, she was beaten in the flight by Katherine Fraser and was caught behind for a 15-ball 16.

Delany, after a couple of low scores in the series, started promisingly by taking on Fraser to smash her for a six over long-on and then hitting a boundary through extra-cover. But she took one risk too many and was beaten in the air by Maqsood only to be stumped by Sarah Bryce. Ireland were 59 for 3 at the ten-over mark.

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In the 14th over, Orla Prendergast hit a boundary before she was brilliantly stumped by Sarah with the allrounder lifting the foot only for a narrow second. Lara Maritz came and scored two boundaries in two consecutive balls but was caught at long-off to finish Megan McColl’s eventful over. 15 runs and two wickets came from it.

Meanwhile, at the other end, Kavanagh started slowly and was at 12 from 18 balls at one stage. Ireland soon lost Leah Paul as well and at 96 for 6, it looked like they would fall well short of a competitive score.

But in the 17th over, Kavanagh opened up hitting a huge six off Fraser and then she followed it up with another big one through wide long-on off McGill. In the same over, she drove the medium-pacer through cover for another boundary. Although she was dismissed next ball trapped in front by a fuller one, her career-best T20I score of 37 meant Ireland scored 39 runs in the last four overs to finish on 134 for 8 in 20 overs. For Scotland, Maqsood, Fraser and McColl all took two wicket each.

In the chase, Ireland had the perfect start with the impressive Prendergast getting one through Becky Glen, who’s horror run in the series continued, to have her bowled for a duck. Although Sarah managed to get a couple of boundaries, Prendergast accounted for her with another inswinger that send the right-hander’s middle-stump flying. Scotland were struggling at the end of the power play with scoring only 15 runs with the loss of those two wickets.

Even though Kathryn and McGill added 30 runs for the third wicket, introduction of Paul saw McGill and McColl losing wickets in consecutive balls to leave Scotland reeling at 43 for 4 in 10.4 overs.

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From there, it was too steep a hill to climb for the visitors as they lost wickets at regular intervals even as Kathryn tried in vain to keep Scotland on course for the target. First Maritiz bowled Priyanaz Chatterji for six and then Cara Murray took out Abbi Aitken-Drummond with the first delivery she bowled as Scotland reduced themselves to 63 for 6 in 14.1 overs.

Kathryn played a valiant knock to finish on 45 not out even as she ran out of partners with Murray taking three wickets and number Samantha Haggo not being able to bat because of an injury.

Brief Scores: Ireland 134/8 in 20 overs (Shauna Kavanagh 37; Megan McColl 2/16, Abtaha Maqsood 2/19) beat Scotland 93/all out in 19 overs (Kathryn Bryce 45; Cara Murray 3/18, Orla Prendergast 2/7) by 41 runs POTM: Orla Prendergast