Ireland end campaign in defeat but with World Cup spot secured

Late fightback from Arlene Kelly and Cara Murray not enough to see Ireland over the line against Bangladesh

Bangladesh (120-8, 20 overs) (Fargana Hoque 61; Laura Delany 3-27) beat Ireland (113-9, 20 overs) (Arlene Kelly 28*; Rumana Ahmed 3-24) by seven runs. Scorecard here.

One more trip to the well came up empty handed. Playing Bangladesh for pride and a secondary piece of silverware in the final of the qualifying tournament, Ireland came up an agonising seven runs short albeit the primary goal of T20 World Cup qualification was already secured on Friday.

Chasing 121 for a victory that would have avenged their opening defeat to the same opposition back in the group stages of this competition, Ireland’s top and middle order failed to see the game home despite a somewhat reviving partnership from Laura Delany and Eimear Richardson. The lower order of Mary Waldron (19), Arlene Kelly (28*) and Cara Murray (13) nearly did what their batting colleagues couldn’t and secure a nail-biting victory, but ultimately Nahida Akter held her nerve in the last over, conceding just seven runs and taking one wicket when 15 was required.

Rumana Ahmed was the pick of the Bangladesh attack with figures of 3-24 to go alongside her 21 with the bat, the only other score of note in the first innings was Fargana Hoque’s 61, a lone hand that stopped Ireland from bowling out their opponents for a truly low score.

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Delany returned the best Irish bowling figures of 3-27 as she rattled through the tail, Kelly the next best with her two wickets accounting for Murshida Khatun - with the aid of a good low catch from Gaby Lewis at extra cover - and Hoque after she had done her damage.

Despite her lone hand, 121 was certainly a gettable target given the form of Ireland’s top four. However, Gaby Lewis departed to Sanjida Akter Meghla in the second over for 4, the left-arm spinner taking advantage of her match-up to right handers to dismiss Orla Prendergast as well three overs later. In between, Amy Hunter was stumped off Nahida Akter.

Delany and Richardson did provide a fightback of sorts with a partnership of 23, but when the latter departed to leave Ireland 47-4, plenty of time was left in the game, 13 overs to get 74 runs, but a collapse ensued as the next three wickets fell for just 11 runs.

Waldron and Kelly steadied the ship somewhat enough to leave Ireland well in the game once the former departed, Murray providing the support thereafter. Needing 15 runs off the last set, and therefore boundaries, none were to be found as Murray’s dismissal in that over proved to be the final nail in Ireland’s coffin.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist