Ireland finish top of the table
Ireland completed their programme in the ICC European Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier with an emphatic 8 wickets victory over The Netherlands in a rain-shortened encounter at Bready.
The ground still hadn't recovered from the rains of the past two days and the match was delayed, eventually being reduced to a 17 overs per side game. Ireland captain Cecilia Joyce, deputising for her injured sister Isobel, won the toss and put the Dutch into bat.
Openers Helmien Rambaldo and captain Denise Hannema began slowly against accurate bowling from Kim Garth and Louise McCarthy. However, Rambaldo was forced to retire when she tried to pull a short ball from McCarthy and was hit in the throat. She had to receive attention for some time on the pitch but was able to walk off unaided.
Hannema was caught behind by Mary Waldron off McCarthy with the total at 10 chasing a widish delivery. That brought together Caroline de Groot and Miranda Veringmeier in a partnership that was to realise 56 from the next 11 overs. At first they found it difficult to get the ball past the inner ring of fielders and it wasn't until the 11th over of the innings that the first boundary came, when Veringmeier drove Laura Cullen down the ground. She followed that up with another boundary, a full toss smashed through mid off, off the next delivery.
The partnership ended when De Groot skied Cullen to Cecelia Joyce at mid wicket. With just over two overs remaining the rest of the innings was rather frenetic with the final over producing four dismissals, including three run outs, one of which was when trying to complete a second run off a wide. The final tally for The Netherlands was a somewhat below-par 84.
There was a shower during the interval - although short-lived, two overs were lost before the covers could be removed - and Ireland's target was reduced to 77 from 15 overs. Clare Shillington and Joyce opened for Ireland and showed that they weren't going to hang around in pursuit of their target. 23 runs came from the first three overs with Shillington being especially severe on anything short or over-pitched.
When Joyce was stumped by Heather Siegers, tempted to leave her crease by a well-flighted delivery from Esther de Lange, Shillington further increased the tempo. Together with Kim Garth she advanced the total to 62 when she fell lbw trying to sweep Hannema. Her most impressive 35 came from 26 balls and included five boundaries.
At the other end Kimberley Garth had been happy to play second fiddle to Shillington but she then took over the main scoring role with some beautifully-timed shots. When she hit the winning runs through the legs of the deep mid on fielder she had made 22 from 22 deliveries.
So Ireland finished the tournament at the top of the table with two wins from two completed matches and, provided the afternoon match between The Netherlands and Scotland produced a result, a place in the Women's T20 World Cup Global Qualifier.
The Netherlands take the second qualifying spot
The Netherlands grabbed the second qualifying place for the ICC Women's T20 World Cup Global Qualifier with a narrow seven runs victory over Scotland. Having been set a target of 116 for victory, Scotland were always in with a good chance of victory until opener Leigh Kasperek was run out off the first ball of the 18th over with 26 runs still needed.
Having been put in to bat, the Dutch openers began much more aggressively than they had in the morning defeat by Ireland. However, Helmien Rambaldo was bowled by Wheeler in the third over and when Caroline de Groot was bowled by Abbi Aitken two overs later they were in some trouble at 25 for two. Five runs later, skipper Denise Hannema was also bowled by Aitken. Miranda Veringmeier was then joined by Heather Siegers and they took the score to 58 before she was bowled by Leigh Kasparek who, almost immediately, struck again by hitting the stumps of Esther de Lange to leave The Netherlands on 60 for five with half the overs gone.
Veringmeier proceed to follow up her heroics earlier in the day with another fine innings, hitting five boundaries in an excellent half-century which took the Dutch through to a final tally of 115 for six. She was dismissed in the final over to become Abbi Aitken's third clean bowled victim of the innings. In the later stages of the innings she received good support from Sjoukje Minnema in a stand of 50 for the seventh wicket.
Scotland's reply began disastrously with Fiona Urquhart, Kari Anderson and Samantha Haggo all back in the pavilion in the first 20 deliveries to leave them reeling on 8 for three. The steady line and length of Laura Brouwers was to prove too much for the Scots and she went on to finish with figures of 2 for five in her four overs.
Kathryn White came in to join Leigh Kasparek and they set about steadying the innings, adding 39 before White unfortunately dispatched a full toss straight into the hands of Leonie Bennett on the boundary at deep fine leg. Dickson soon fell cheaply to leave Scotland on 58 for five after 11 overs and the match at that point seemed lost.
However, Kasparek had other ideas as she began to combine some attractive strokeplay with superb running between the wickets. She and Aitken took the score to 87 before Aitken holed out to mid off at the start of the 17th over.
29 runs from the remaining 22 balls seemed to be an attainable target and the match looked set for a thrilling finish. However, the decisive moment came at the start of the 18th over when Kasparek was run out trying a very risky single to mid on. Her innings of 49 was scored at exactly a run a ball. Although there were a couple of flourishes from the Scotland tailenders, the Dutch bowlers maintained their discipline to see their side through to victory.
The most successful of the Dutch bowlers, apart from Brouwers, were Maxime Entrop and Cher van Sloobe, who each captured two wickets.