Ireland face tough opener against Australia at Women’s World T20
Laura Delany’s side taking confidence from final warm-up game win against Sri Lanka
Ireland captain Laura Delany gives instructions during the Women’s World Twenty20 warm-up game against Sri Lanka in Antigua. Photograph: Cricket Ireland/ICC
The Ireland women’s cricket team open their World Twenty20 campaign with a tough assignment against three-time champions Australia in Guyana on Sunday (8pm Irish time, Sky Sports).
The heat will be on in every context with temperatures of over 30 degrees expected throughout the week at the Providence Stadium in Georgetown.
Ireland will also face Pakistan, India and New Zealand in Group B as they look to beat their duck in the tournament after winless runs in 2014 and 2016.
All four games will be broadcast live on Sky Sports and Irish skipper Laura Delany says her side will take a lot of confidence into the tournament after an eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their final warm-up game.
“The win against Sri Lanka could not have come at a better time for us. To finish our warm-up games with such a convincing win against the team ranked seventh in the world – three spots ahead of us – has instilled a lot of confidence in the group. As a group we have never beaten Sri Lanka, so this in itself is a huge accomplishment for the team,” said Delany
“We hope to take the confidence from our last warm-up game into our first match against Australia, however we know come Sunday that we have to reset and work just as hard as we did last Wednesday.”
Delany, 25, has well over 100 appearances for her country and leads a 15-strong squad with over 1,000 international caps between them.
Stalwarts such as the Joyce twins, Isobel and Cecelia, Eimear Richardson, Ciara Metcalfe and Clare Shillington bring bags of experience and skill, while the squad includes four teenagers, albeit both Gaby Lewis and Lucy O’Reilly have over 50 caps each to their names.
Australian-born leg-spinner Celeste Raack should enjoy the conditions in Guyana that allow for turn, while Clontarf’s 17-year-old pace bowler Lara Maritz made a telling contribution against Sri Lanka, taking three wickets with eight deliveries to wrap up victory on Wednesday.
Ireland head coach Aaron Hamilton is fully aware of the challenge that his squad faces in the tournament and has driven home the point to his players that they deserve to be mixing it with the best sides in the world after coming through the qualifier along with Bangladesh.
“When it comes to big tournaments against big teams, it is all about not being overwhelmed by the occasion and focusing on executing our processes,” said Hamilton.
“We’re not naive about the scale of the challenge ahead, but we have to go into these games with the self-belief they we belong here on the world stage and play to the best of our abilities.”
Laura Delany (Leinster, capt), Kim Garth (Pembroke), Cecelia Joyce (Merrion), Isobel Joyce (Merrion), Shauna Kavanagh (Pembroke), Amy Kenealy (Leinster), Gaby Lewis (YMCA), Lara Maritz (Clontarf), Ciara Metcalfe (YMCA), Lucy O’Reilly (YMCA), Celeste Raack (Merrion), Eimear Richardson (New Zealand based), Clare Shillington (Pembroke), Rebecca Stokell (Leinster), Mary Waldron (Malahide).
IRELAND’S GROUP B FIXTURES
(all games at Providence Stadium, Georgetown, Guyana, all times Irish, all matches live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Mix)
Sunday November 11th: Ireland v Australia, 8pm
Tuesday November 13th: Ireland v Pakistan, 8pm
Thursday November 15th: Ireland v India, 3pm
Saturday November 17th: Ireland v New Zealand, 8pm