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Unlucky Ireland goes down in last ball thriller against West Indies

Ireland Women fought back in a low-scoring contest but fell just short of what would have been a remarkable win in the first T20 International (T20I) against West Indies at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground today.

Ireland started sprightly after being put in to bat first with 28 runs flowing from the first 23 balls of the innings, courtesy of openers Gaby Lewis (17) and Amy Hunter (15). Both batters looked comfortable early, finding the boundary four times as the visitors looked to set the pace.

However, the pair were soon back in the pavilion within five balls of each other and the bowlers then set about drying up the runs. Captain Laura Delany (34) and Eimear Richardson (22) put on 31 for the fourth wicket, but looking to accelerate, Richardson was caught at square leg.

Delany battled hard, striking two boundaries and a six over long off, but she eventually fell in the last over and Ireland finished 112-7 from 20 overs – seven runs shy of what is considered par score for the ground.

The West Indies reply started badly with a batting mix up leading to a run out by Orla Prendergast – the Pembroke all-rounder chased the ball in her follow-through, spun around and threw down the stumps at the non-strikers end.

Hayley Matthews (37) led the batting recovery as the home side made their way to 40-1 in the 9th over. Quick hands by Hunter behind the stumps removed Gajnabi – and a second direct hit run out by Prendergast – saw West Indies stumble again at 59-3 in the 13th over.

With tension building, the last seven overs saw the momentum of the game shift radically – runs flowed but regular wickets tumbled, including great piece of bowling by T20I debutant Aimee Maguire (1-18). The 16-year old left-arm spinner was smashed to the boundary by Afy Fletcher off the third ball of her third over, but bounced back with a ball that was faster, flatter and deceived Fletcher and crashed into her leg stump.

With one over to go the West Indies needed 7 to win with three wickets in hand. Cara Murray was handed the ball and snared a wicket with the third ball, but Ireland’s dreams of a come-from-behind win were shattered with a wide and a single off the last ball saw the Caribbean side triumph by two wickets off the last ball.

The two sides meet again on Thursday at the same venue for the second of three T20Is.


West Indies Women v Ireland Women, 1st T20I, St Lucia, 4 July 2023

Ireland 112-7 (20 overs: L Delany 34, E Richardson 22; H Matthews 3-22)

West Indies 113-8 (20 overs; H Matthews 37; A Kelly 3-21)

West Indies won by 2 wickets