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
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 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.
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.