A well-measured run chase by Ireland, led by star all-rounder Gaby Lewis and captain Laura Delany, saw Ireland Women’s team defeat Bangladesh by six wickets at Sydney Parade.
Bangladesh made a solid start registering 47 runs in the 7th over before losing their first wicket to a brilliant piece of wicketkeeping skill by Mary Waldron, dismissing her opposite number Shamima Sultana for 30 runs (27 balls, 5 fours).
The Bangladesh scoring rate slowed after the wicket, but a solid 30-run stand between Ayasha Rahman and Fargana Hoque Pinky ensured their side would at least put together a defendable total.
Pinky was the outstanding batter for the visitors, striking balls to all parts of the ground with increasing positivity and ended the innings 66* off 47 balls (6 x fours, 2 x sixes).
Despite losing wickets, Pinky’s late flourish ensured the Bangladesh total crossed the 150-mark, ending up 151-4 from their 20 overs.
For Ireland, Ciara Metcalfe, Laura Delany and Eimear Richardson took one-wicket apiece, with Delany’s effort of 1-19 from 4 overs the stand-out.
Ireland’s response began in a controlled manner until the dismissal of Clare Shillington (21 off 22 balls; 4 x fours) with the score on 28-1 in the sixth over.
Enter Gaby Lewis, the 17-year old Dubliner who plays for nearby YMCA.
Lewis seemed to dominate the attack from the outset and rarely gave a chance. After losing her partner Cecelia Joyce (7 runs), Lewis combined with captain Delany in a 93-run partnership from 57 balls.
The two batters found the boundary regularly and kept the run rate required at a manageable rate.
Lewis brought up her second T20I half-century from just 30 balls before an unfortunate deflection off the bowlers hand ran Lewis out as she was backing up at the non-strikers end.
Lewis’ 50 runs included seven fours and one six. Her innings today is the second time within a month she had passed the 50-mark, having scored 61 against the New Zealand in June.
Delany was then joined by the experienced Isobel Joyce, and the pair continued the assault on the bowling, putting Ireland in a position of requiring 11 runs from the last over to win.
A desperate mix-up on the 3rd ball of the over saw Delany run out (46 runs from 38 balls; 5 x fours), but Joyce kept a cool head and swept the fifth ball of the over to the boundary to tie up the scores.
With one needed from the final ball Joyce then played a ball slowly into the covers and took a comfortable run – completing an excellent come-from-behind win for the women in green.
The series may have been lost 2-1 but the positivity and self-belief that the side gained from this victory will carry through into the upcoming World T20 Qualifier tournament, starting this week in the Netherlands.
Bangladesh fast bowler Jahanara Alam was named Player of the Series, after three great bowling performances, including taking her national sides first five-for in a T20I in the first game of the series at YMCA.
Laura Delany said: “I’m ecstatic, looking back on the game we deserved to win. We’ve gotten better every game – I think Gaby Lewis was outstanding today and Isobel Joyce held her nerve there at the end, and I couldn’t think of a better choice to finish off the game.
“Great cricket has been played over the last week and to come out today and win, after a head two or three weeks firstly against New Zealand, shows how much we’ve learnt and improved, and I’m really excited about the next week. If we just keep going forward, that’s all we can ask.”
Gaby Lewis said: “Going in there it was a bit under pressure and quite a high run rate required but we didn’t want to be too conscious of the scorecard, it was all about the momentum of the game.
"It’s great to finish on a high, that’s what we wanted. Coming back from defeat was a huge thing for us, we’ve obviously a lot still to learn, but very positive now going into the Qualifiers.
“The main learning from us is to play our own game, rather than trying to adapt to every other team. We are also getting Lucy [O’Reilly] back which is a huge positive for us, so she should be a good addition to this upcoming tournament.”