Meg Lanning's 38-ball 43 and a disciplined performance from the Australia Women bowlers steered them to a comfortable 25-run win over Ireland Women in the first of the three T20Is in Dublin. After scoring 140 for 5, Australia reduced Ireland to 58 for 6, before the hosts hauled their score past 100 but the match had fallen out of their grasp by then.
Opting to field, Ireland struck early with the wicket of in-form Jess Jonassen for 5 but Elyse Villani and Lanning stitched a crucial stand of 56 in 7.1 overs to lay a strong platform. Villani fell for 32 in the tenth over even as Lanning continued, to marshall the score past 100 in her 50th T20 international. Ireland fought back by taking three quick wickets of Lanning, Ellyse Perry and debutant Grace Harris, for a duck, within eight balls for only one run - two of those taken by 17-year-old legspinner Elena Tice. But Alex Blackwell and Jess Cameron smashed 36 runs off the last 23 balls to stage a comeback and post a competitive total. Tice finished with 2 for 35.
Ireland went off track in their chase early when Perry and Jonassen removed the openers within the first three overs. Cecelia Joyce stalled the fall of wickets with a patient Laura Delany, 9 off 17, to take the score past 50, but medium-pacer Harris broke the stand by having Joyce stumped for a brisk 26. Fifty-one for 3 soon became 58 for 6 as Rene Farrell took a return catch, Harris struck again and a run-out added to Ireland's woes.
They needed another 83 from 52 from there, but with only four wickets in hand. Gaby Lewis, Kim Garth and Lucy O'Reilly chipped in with double-digit scores but could not avoid the loss as Australia inflicted two more run-outs. Harris made up for her two-ball duck with a spell of 3-0-15-2 and only one of Australia's six bowlers conceded at more than six runs per over.
"Nervous is probably an understatement," Harris said of her debut. "I suppose because the nerves hit me early with the bat, by the time I got out to the field [to bowl], I was a bit fresher and over it. With the ball I just knew what my job was and went straight into it. I didn't get hit for a boundary until the third over so I was just trying to bowl to the field the skipper had set me and Meg was happy with how I was going."