Gaby Lewis finished what she started in the first T20 on Saturday with a top quality 71 from 46 balls in Lahore yesterday to fire Ireland to a 34-run victory over Pakistan and an historic 2-1 series win.
A record opening partnership of 110 in only 12.5 overs with Amy Hunter, who made 40, gave the Girls in Green a strong platform and although the pace of the innings dropped a little after Lewis holed out, Orla Prendergast’s rapid 37 helped post 167-4.
Prendergast followed up with a tidy four overs for 23, and with Arlene Kelly and skipper Laura Delany claiming three wickets each the home side were bowled out for 133 in the 19th over, sparking joyous celebrations.
“We went out to be as positive as we could,” Lewis, who hit nine fours and a six, said. “We are top heavy as a batting unit with Amy and Orla and we can really take on the game, and when it comes off, it comes off.”
No Ireland team had previously beaten a Test-playing nation in a T20 away series and while Lewis, who made 69 not out in the first game, was awarded both Player of the Match and Series, all-rounder Prendergast must have run her close for the latter.
Veteran wicketkeeper Mary Waldron also enjoyed a fine series behind the stumps, ending it with a run-out, two catches standing up and a stumping that secured the win.
“It’s a really memorable moment for us and our management,” Delany said. “To come over here in conditions that aren’t familiar and to win this series after losing the ODIs is brilliant.
‘We’re a young side and we’re learning game by game.”
The victory is validation for Cricket Ireland’s decision to award professional playing contracts last year, and the hard work put in by coach Ed Joyce and his backroom staff.
With a team that is clearly improving game on game - even from their ODI series drubbing earlier in the tour - Joyce can look forward to playing Pakistan again in Cape Town in February, in the Group stage of the T20 World Cup, and maybe even stretching the West Indies.