Recent Match Report – Ire Women vs SA Women 1st T20I 2022

Ireland 143 for 7 (Lewis 52, Paul 47, Sekhukhune 3-32) beat South Africa 133 for 7 (Bosch 29, Kelly 2-25) with 10 runs

Ireland, led by the youngest captain in their history, Gaby Lewis, beat South Africa for only the second time in 11 T20I meetings to stun fifth place and take a lead in the three-game run. Ireland are in 12th place in the T20s and their only previous win over South Africa was in August 2016.
Five players from South Africa and three Ireland from that match were involved in this one, including Lewis. Along with Leah Paul, she broke her own record for Ireland’s highest opening partnership against South Africa, set Ireland up for a famous win and claimed a piece of history herself. Lewis is the first daughter of a former Irish captain to lead the national team after her father Alan Lewis captained the men’s team.

Start strong
Lewis and Paul took advantage of a lackluster South African effort in the top of their innings and raced to 83 with no loss in the first 10 overs. In doing so, they also posted Ireland’s highest first-wicket partnership against South Africa, beating the 78 shared between Lewis and Clare Shillington in Ireland’s previous 2016 win. None of the six bowlers South Africa had used up to that point threatened at all, as they struggled to adapt to the slow pace of the field. They offered many deliveries that were short and both Lewis and Paul were strong in their response. The pair then split in a tie of 98, 16 less than Ireland’s highest opening tie against any team.

South Africa claws back
None of the South African bowlers were able to eliminate Lewis, who made her sixth T20I half-century, but some commitment in the field did. She had ridden out at the end of the non-rush hour to bring an authoritative knock to a close. But it wasn’t until the next over, when Shabnim Ismail was brought in again and used the slower ball to catch Paul halfway through, that South Africa were able to brake well.

Ireland was 107 for 2 after 14 overs and could only manage 36 runs from the next six overs, while also losing five wickets. Tumi Sekhukhune, whose first three overs cost 27 runs, came back well to take three wickets in her last and ensure no one outside of Ireland’s top four reached double figures. Still, Ireland achieved their highest total against South Africa in T20Is, three runs more than their previous highest of 140 for 4 in a losing case in 2016.

Ireland strikes immediately
South Africa chose to experiment with a new opening pair – Lara Goodall and Tazmin Brits – and it backfired. Offspinner Rachel Delaney was asked to open the bowl against southpaw Goodall and had her catch the first ball of South Africa’s answer behind, delivering a maiden first-over.

And then take the big wicket
South Africa held Laura Wolvaardt back to number 4 and she provided some stability, but her attempt to give the innings a boost in the ninth failed. She tried to cut off Cara Murray, but Celeste Raack made a good catch, low on the back tip, to give Ireland’s players a wild feast.

Cat and mouse to the end

With 48 runs needed from the last five overs, Chloe Tryon had the ideal opportunity to show off her finishing skills. She took over 15 runs on the 16th bowled by Murray, including a casual-as-you-like six over midwicket to ease the pressure on her captain Sune Luus. But Lewis had an ace up his sleeve. She ordered Paul, whose first two overs yielded 16 runs, to bowl the 18th over. Tryon was way out of her league when she went for a slog, missed and was bowled. Luus was South Africa’s last real chance, but she was thrown over in the penultimate by debutant Arlene Kelly. South Africa needed 18 runs to win the latter and neither Nadine de Klerk nor Ismail could get them there.

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