Momentum with Ireland as Scotland look to the Bryce sisters for inspiration
Ireland celebrate a wicket © Oisin Keniry/Cricket Ireland
With the four-match series locked at 1-1, the third T20I between Ireland and Scotland on Wednesday (May 26) has become a make or break game for both teams. After the rusty chase in the first T20I Ireland came back strongly and registered a whopping 61-run win and now the series is up for grabs along with some vital ICC ranking points.
The bowlers have been on the money for Ireland in the series so far with Leah Paul, Celeste Raack, and skipper Laura Delany all having four scalps each. Allrounder Orla Prendergast and Ava Canning, who is playing in her first series, have also been impressive with their opening spells. The hosts also have been sharp in the field with players affecting run outs and taking some impressive catches.
On the other hand, Scotland's bowling has been a mixed bag. No one has made quite an impression apart from Katie McGill, who is the leading wicket-taker of the series with five scalps in two matches. Their bowling unit looked particularly helpless against Gaby Lewis and Shauna Kavanaugh’s 68-run partnership and also couldn’t control the late hitting by Prendergast and Lara Maritz in the second match.
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But batting has been the real letdown for the visitors with the side managing to score put up only paltry scores of 87 and 76 in both the matches. The over reliance on the Bryce sisters, Kathryn and Sarah, was evident and with them scoring only 45 runs between them so far, the rest of the batting failed to stand-up. McGill’s match awareness helped Scotland overcome the middle-order lull in the first T20I but no batter stuck around to form a meaningful partnership in the second game.
After the dismal performance in the first match of the series on their return from 18-month hiatus, Ireland’s batting showed a revived intent in the second game. Even when they lost Rebecca Stokell and Delany early, the attacking mindset was never lost. The way Prendergast and Maritz batted in the death overs also will add to their confidence.
If there is one area where both teams have excelled throughout the series, it's the fielding. There were some amazing catches with the ones by Kathryn and Maritz topping the list. Scotland wicket-keeper Sarah also has been impressive behind the stumps with her record-equaling four stumpings in the first match.
Both teams will look to strengthen their claims as the better side among the two ahead of the two World Cup qualifiers so it's unlikely that they will make any changes to their first choice playing XIs. With the chance to have an unassailable lead up for grabs come Wednesday, it will be curious to see which side will blink first.
Ireland: Laura Delany (c), Ava Canning, Rachel Delaney, Georgina Dempsey, Amy Hunter, Shauna Kavanagh, Gaby Lewis, Jane Maguire, Lara Maritz, Cara Murray, Leah Paul, Orla Prendergast, Celeste Raack, Jenny Sparrow, Rebecca Stokell
Scotland: Kathryn Bryce (c), Sarah Bryce, Becky Glen, Lorna Jack, Abbi Aitken-Drummond, Ikra Farooq, Abtaha Maqsood, Samantha Haggo, Katie Mcgill, Priyanaz Chatterji, Ailsa Lister, Katherine Fraser, Ellen Watson, Megan McColl