There were no major surprises on the opening day of the ICC Women’s World T20 qualifier, with hosts Ireland, favourites Sri Lanka and Pakistan, and the Netherlands all winning their respective matches.
The closest match of the day was always likely to be the one between the Netherlands and Zimbabwe at the YMCA Cricket Club in Dublin and so it proved. It was a tense and low-scoring affair, with Zimbabwe failing to score the seven runs that they needed off the final over and losing by three runs.
They struggled for much of their run chase, initially slipping to 29 for five, before a sixth-wicket stand of 33 between captain Ashley Burdett (23) and Nonhlanhla Nyathi (30 not out) gave them hope. However, those two would be the only batters to reach double figures as Leonie Bennett ended with figures of three for 15.
Sharne Mayers had earlier taken three for 14 to help restrict the Dutch to just 95 for seven. Miranda Veringmeier (15) and Tessa van der Gun (28rh) got them off to a good start, but only one other player reached double figures as Mayers and Christabel Chatonzwa (1-16) bowled tidily.
A century from Clare Shillington gave Ireland the ideal start. The 32 year-old - a veteran of 76 One-Day Internationals - smashed 114 not out off 72 balls to help her side trounce minnows Japan. She shared an unbroken 134 for the second-wicket with Cecelia Joyce (40 not out off 41 balls) as the hosts finished on 170 for one.
Elena Tice then took three for 10, while there were a brace of wickets apiece for Melissa Scott-Hayward (2-8), Kim Garth (2-10) and 13 year-old Lucy O’Reilly (2-9) as Japan were bundled out for 53. Only Mariko Yamamoto and Shizuka Kubota reached double figures.
Left-arm spinner Chandima Gunaratne took four for six from her four overs as Sri Lanka hammered Canada by nine wickets. They overhauled Canada’s derisory total of 44 in 37 deliveries as Yasoda Mendis and Eshani Kaushalya each finished on 17 not out. Sripali Weerakkody (2-11), Sandamali Dolawatte (2-8) and Oshadi Ranasinghe (1-8) were the other Canada wicket-takers.
Thailand could muster only 76 for eight after holding Pakistan to 145 for six. Chanida Sutthiruang hit a futile 19 off 11 balls towards the end of the Thai innings but they were never in the hunt. Sumaiya Siddiqi returned the incredible figures of 4-2-4-2, while there were also wickets for Sadia Yousuf (1-9), Qanita Jalil (1-14), Asmavia Iqbal (2-15) and Bismah Maroof (1-10).
Pakistan had earlier recovered well from the loss of Javeria Khan in Nattakan Chantam’s first over. Nain Abidi made 47 off 38 balls, while there was 25 from Bismah Maroof and a late 16-ball 26 from Nida Dar.
Tomorrow is a rest day in the tournament, with Thursday then seeing Thailand and Zimbabwe enter must-win games against the Netherlands and Pakistan, and Japan and Canada doing likewise in Group B against Sri Lanka and Ireland.
© Cricket World 2013