< >
CricketWorld.com, Latest Cricket News & Results

Leah Paul stars as Ireland Women level series against Zimbabwe

Leah Paul stars as Ireland Women level series against Zimbabwe
Leah Paul stars as Ireland Women level series against Zimbabwe
©Zimbabwe Cricket
Leah Paul stars as Ireland Women level series against Zimbabwe
Leah Paul stars as Ireland Women level series against Zimbabwe
©Zimbabwe Cricket

Opener Leah Paul hit a career-best 95 as Ireland Women registered its second-highest ever team total in One-Day International cricket, with the Irish bowlers ensuring victory by 80 runs over Zimbabwe to square the series at 1-1 with two games to play.


Zimbabwe Women v Ireland Women ODI Series, 2nd ODI, Harare Sports Club, 7 October 2021 

Ireland 286-7 (50 overs; L Paul 95, G Lewis 65, L Delany 35; J Nkomo 1-33, P Marange 1-38)

Zimbabwe 206-9 (50 overs: J Nkomo 70*; C Murray 3-56, C Raack 2-23, L Paul 1-29) 

Ireland won by 80 runs (series 1-1)


22-year old Paul, playing in just her sixth ODI, struck eight boundaries in a patient 118-ball knock using timing and placement to great effect. Her runs came all around the wicket, with a particular feature of her innings being her ability to seemingly turn the strike over at will. Of her 95 runs, she scored 38 singles and 11 twos on a pitch that seemed to reward patience and good judgement – with Paul continually picking off the bowling while waiting for the right ball to punish.

Paul combined with fellow opener Gaby Lewis (65) in what ended up a match-defining partnership. Their opening stand of 135 runs – the sixth highest partnership in ODI cricket for Ireland Women – laid solid foundations for the middle order to build upon.

Lewis, who had taken the reins as lead aggressor early, brought up her maiden ODI half-century in the 20th over with the pair’s 100-run partnership coming in same over. Paul followed suit four overs later with her maiden ODI half-century, and as the pair embraced in celebration in the middle of the pitch, Ireland looked in an indomitable position.

However, two quick wickets fell shortly after – Lewis bowled and Amy Hunter (1) adjudged leg before wicket – but just as soon as Zimbabwe sniffed a way back into the contest captain Laura Delany combined with Paul for a 67-run stand to push Ireland over the 200-mark.

Delany fell for 35 looking to push the run rate on, while Paul unluckily fell caught behind off Precious Marange getting a edge to a ball wide down leg side, with Zimbabwean keeper Modester Mupachikwa taking a smart diving catch.

Orla Prendergast (23) and Shauna Kavanagh (34) added late runs and Ireland Women finished on 286-7 from their 50 overs.

International debutant Jane Maguire was handed the new ball and was immediately hitting the mark with a tight line and length. The Hills medium-paced bowler combined well in opening combination with the left-arm spin of Paul to tie down the home side’s openers. With the score 21-0 in the 11th over, the pressure eventually took its toll, as Kavanagh smartly ran out Mupachikwa (14) and Cara Murray (3-56) grabbed two key wickets, including that of the Zimbabwean captain and centurion from the last match Mary-Anne Musonda - the score stood at 74-4 after 25 overs with Zimbabwe’s innings looking increasingly adrift.

Despite a valiant half-century from Josephine Nkomo (70* off 86 deliveries), Zimbabwe finished their innings 206-9 as Ireland levelled the series 1-1 with two games remaining in the series.

The two sides meet again at the same venue on Saturday for the third ODI.