Ireland lift Women's World T20 Qualifier after thrilling win
Ireland Women 106 for 8 (Joyce 32, Delany 26, Rumana 2-16) beat Bangladesh Women 105 for 3 (Sultana 41, Rumana 38, Metcalfe 3-14) by two wickets
Drama unfolded at the Terdthai Cricket Ground in Bangkok as Ireland Women scored the eight runs required off the last over to scrape to a thrilling two-wicket victory in the final of the Women's World T20 Qualifier against Bangladesh Women. Chasing 106, Ireland had brought the equation down to one off one, when chaos abounded as Salma Khatun attempted to Mankad Laura Delany (26) before the final delivery. However, after a long delay, the umpires decided it was not out, and 16-year-old Lucy O'Reilly hit the winning runs off the last ball.
Bangladesh chose to put the runs on the board in a pressure match after winning the toss, and were given a solid start by the openers - Sharmin Akhter and Nigar Sultana - who put on 21 in 30 balls before Ciara Metcalfe struck off consecutive balls in the sixth over.
Sultana (41 off 57) and Rumana Ahmed (38 off 43) combined to boost Bangladesh with a 74-run stand for the third wicket before Metcalfe struck again in the penultimate over to dismiss Sultana. The Ireland legspinner finished with figures of 3 for 14. Bangladesh managed to score 45 off the last six overs to propel the total to 105.
In the chase, Clare Shillington struck fours off the first two balls to set the tone for the game. However, three wickets in the space of 23 balls brought Bangladesh back into the game, even as Cecilia Joyce compiled a 30-ball 32 from the other end. Ireland struggled to find the boundary - no boundary was hit after the fifth over - as Bangladesh piled on the pressure and brought the equation down from 43 off 10 overs to eight off the last six balls. Delany mustered two twos off the first couple of deliveries, which were followed by three singles to level the scores.
"It's an amazing feeling and I'm so proud of my team for getting over the line in really tough conditions," Ireland captain Isobel Joyce said. "Bangladesh are an excellent bowling team, especially Salma Khatun who was bowling the last over, who is so experienced and would back herself every time to keep any team under eight [runs].
"I'm really delighted for Laura Delany because she didn't have it her own way during her innings, but she stuck in and was there to help the team and Lucy O'Reilly over the line. The team took it one ball at a time, which is important especially in Twenty20s, rather than thinking about the whole match which can overwhelm you, because if we needed 12 or 13 runs off the last over it might have been too much. I think the fact that we scored well in the first few overs took the pressure off a little bit at the back end," Joyce said.
Ireland and Bangladesh, had both qualified for the Women's World T20, and will join eight other countries in the tournament in India in 2016.