New Zealand and Ireland will lock horns in their final match at the ICC Women’s World T20 2018, with only pride to play for.
Ireland v New Zealand
WT20 Match 18
Guyana National Stadium, Providence
Both sides headed into the tournament with contrasting ambitions. New Zealand had realistic hopes of winning the big trophy, and were one of the favourites before consecutive losses to India and Australia – they needed to beat at least one of them to have a chance – derailed their tournament.
Ireland, meanwhile, had made it clear that their objective was to beat Pakistan, specifically, and secure the fourth spot in Group B, which would seal automatic qualification for the next edition of the tournament.
Their failure to do that – Pakistan beat them by 38 runs – drove their captain Laura Delany to tears.
Whatever their objectives were heading to the Caribbean, the teams are now united in shared disappointment. The most they can hope for now is to finish the tournament on a high, take what lessons they can, and use it in the next big tournament.
New Zealand, for their part, came good against Pakistan, easing to a 54-run win. The likes of Sophie Devine and captain Amy Satterthwaite finally found runs with the bat – their failure to do so was one of the big reasons for the defeats against India and Australia.
The bowlers, Amelia Kerr and Jess Watkin chief among them, then chipped in with the wickets in a fine team display.
Ireland, for their part, will be desperate to do well. It has been a “very tough learning curve” for them, as Isobel Joyce said after the loss to India, but added that they need more of these fixtures. “We want to be a team that are used to playing these kinds of games day in, day out. We want to be become a professional side.”
While it might be a dead rubber as far as the tournament goes, for Ireland, it’s another clash against top-quality opposition. And they’ll lap it up, determined as they are to make a good account of themselves at the biggest stage.
That might yet spark them into pulling off an upset. What a story that would be. Not to forget, it might also give them that No.4 position they so wanted.
Suzie Bates (New Zealand): When Bates gets going, there’s no stopping her. She has been New Zealand’s big bright spot this tournament, with 150 runs in three outings. Ireland’s big priority will be to stop her, and if they can do that and expose the top order – you get the impression they are still unsettled – they might have a shout in this match.
Isobel Joyce (Ireland): Against an incisive India attack, Joyce, with her experience, stood out as she scored a 38-ball 33. She also sent down an economical two overs for just 11 runs. Joyce will need to muster all her experience once again, and be the glue around which Ireland can pull off something special.
The forecast is for thunderstorms in Guyana, and that could spoil the final round of Group B matches.
Ireland: Laura Delany (c), Kim Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Isobel Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Gaby Lewis, Lara Maritz, Ciara Metcalfe, Lucy O’Reilly, Celeste Raack, Eimear Richardson, Clare Shillington, Rebecca Stokell, Mary Waldron
New Zealand: Amy Satterthwaite (c) Suzie Bates, Bernadine Bezuidenhout, Sophie Devine, Kate Ebrahim, Maddy Green, Holly Huddleston, Hayley Jensen, Leigh Kasperek, Amelia Kerr, Katey Martin, Anna Peterson, Hannah Rowe, Lea Tahuhu, Jess Watkin