Bray backs Ireland to claim final qualifier spot

Third place play-off with Dutch will decide who joins Pakistan and Sri Lanka in T20 finals

Ireland women's coach Jeremy Bray has backed his side to keep up their dominance over the Netherlands in Wednesday's ICC Women's World Twenty20 qualifier third place play-off and earn the final spot for next year's finals in Bangladesh.

Bray saw his side go down to a nine-wicket defeat to top seeds Pakistan in yesterday’s semi-final, with Sri Lanka later on beating the Dutch by 33 runs in a rain-shortened game to claim their place in the final, with both sides also qualifying for next year’s finals.

The one worry for Ireland is a batting line-up that has yet to perform as a unit, barring some notable exceptions in Clare Shillington in the early games and 17-year-old Kim Garth in the losses to the two finalists.

The Pembroke all-rounder made an unbeaten 38 from 56 balls in yesterday’s game, the only Ireland player to make double figures as they were bowled out for 65, a target Pakistan chased down in the 15th over for the loss of just one wicket.

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“I think realistically we were always thinking that the third and fourth placed play-off would be between us and the Netherlands so I think we’ve got to still be upbeat, definitely,” said former Ireland opening batsman Bray.

“The last couple of years we’ve been a good bit better than Holland, but in saying that, in T20 cricket anything can happen and the Dutch have some good players as well.

“We have to be on top of our games, like we have been all tournament with the ball and in the field. It’s just our batting that hasn’t been skilful enough and hopefully come the Netherlands game girls can stand up and make a big total for our bowlers to bowl at.”

Garth certainly showed that skill yesterday after Ireland skipper Isobel Joyce was bowled in the first over having lost the toss, while Shillington again went early, thanks to a fantastic direct hit from Nahida Khan that left the Ireland opener short of her ground.

Having made her Ireland debut at 14, Garth is already one of the experienced hands in a youthful squad and she demonstrated it yet again by remaining until the end of the innings as the wickets tumbled around her.

Pakistan were excellent in the field, while wicket-keeper Batool Fatima was outstanding, claiming five victims, including three of her four stumpings off left-arm spinner Sadia Yousuf.

Those wickets tore Ireland’s middle order apart, but Garth kept her head, hitting two late boundaries to record her highest score in a T20 international.


ICC WOMEN'S WORLD TWENTY20 QUALIFIER
Semi-finals

(at Claremont Road): Ireland 65 (19.5 ovs) (K Garth 38no; S Yousuf 4-9), Pakistan 66-1 (14.1 ovs) (J Khan 34no, N Abidi 16no). Pakistan won by 9 wkts.

Sri Lanka 155-6
(19 ovs, D/L reduced) (D Rasangika 47, E Kaushalya 33no, Y Mendis 24, A Jayangani 19; S Bruning 2-27, L Bennett 2-32), Netherlands (D/L target of 85 runs in 9 ovs) 51-4 (9 ovs) (H Ramboldo 22, M Veringmeier 14). Sri Lanka won by 33 runs (D/L).

Wednesday's fixtures (at Claremont Road) - Final:
Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 10am. Third/fourth play-off (winner qualifies for ICC Women's World T20 finals): Ireland v The Netherlands, 2.0pm.