Richardson stars as Ireland finish qualifier with victory over the Netherlands

Ireland miss out on qualification but will have further opportunity through world rankings

WOMEN'S WORLD T20 QUALIFIER
At La Manga Club, Spain: Ireland 111-9
(20 ovs) (E Richardson 53, G Lewis 32; E Lynch 4-23, I Zwilling 3-14), Netherlands 87-9 (20 ovs) (R Rijke 32; C Murray 3-9, L Delany 3-17, A Canning 1-14). Ireland won by 24 runs

Ireland all-rounder Eimear Richardson was named player of the tournament at the ICC T20 World Cup European qualifier after scoring 53 and taking one for 22 as Ireland secured second place in the tournament with a 24-run victory over the Netherlands at La Manga Club in Spain.

While only winners Scotland progress directly to the global qualifier in 2022, there is another potential opportunity available for Ireland, with the next highest ranked side in global ICC rankings going through. On present rankings, this would be Ireland, however this will all be confirmed after the African regional qualifier in September.

Ireland's final group game saw a lively encounter with the Netherlands. After winning the toss and sending Ireland into bat first, the Dutch bowlers delivered an early spell of economical and aggressive bowling, most notably from Iris Zwilling (three for 14) who accounted for the early wickets of Rebecca Stokell, Laura Delany and Leah Paul.

By the halfway stage Ireland has stabilised the innings at 44 for three, with Richardson and Gaby Lewis at the crease. The pair put on 60 runs for the fourth wicket at nearly a run a ball, until Lewis departed in the 15th over for 32 off 39 balls, which was followed by a mini-collapse which saw Ireland lose three wickets for two runs in the space of an over.

Despite this, Richardson looked to carry on aggressively, only departing in the final over after scoring only her second T20 international half-century – a crucial 53 from 49 balls, with Ireland finishing on 111 for nine.

Once more Ava Canning delivered with the ball early for Ireland setting a positive tone in the powerplay, ending with figures of one for 14 from four overs. Her first tournament for Ireland saw her play three matches and finish with three wickets at an average of just seven runs apiece.

This opening powerplay left the Netherlands on 23 for one, and as the field started to spread, Irish skipper Delany turned the spin of Richardson and Cara Murray, and her own medium-pace. Both Murray and Delany claimed three wickets each as Netherlands crashed from 50 for one to 63 for eight in the space of four overs.

Robine Rijke (32) looked the most dangerous, but Murray’s intervention and Rijke’s subsequent dismissal seemed to end the Dutch chances of an outside win.

Eventually, the Dutch finished on 87 for nine, with Richardson taking the double honour of player of the match and player of the tournament. Richardson’s return from her four appearances was seven wickets at 7.28 runs apiece and 76 runs at 38.00.

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