LAURA DELANY could not hide her disappointment and dismay in Abu Dhabi as Ireland lost to Scotland by eight wickets in a do-or-die semi-final of the T20 World Cup Qualifier, and missed out on a place in the tournament proper.

In a telling moment, with Scotland needing just five runs from four overs to overhaul Ireland’s total of 110-9, Delany and vice-captain Gaby Lewis took an age to set a field for off-spinner Eimear Richardson,

Everyone knew the game was gone, including the Ireland skipper, but after a clean sweep of four wins in Group B it was clearly hard to take and to their credit the Girls in Green fought to the end - which came two legitimate deliveries later.

Arguably, the game was lost in the first five balls of the Ireland innings as Amy Hunter was bowled on the charge and quickly followed back to the pavilion by fellow opener Lewis who smashed a short ball to mid-wicket.

‘Fearless cricket’ is what coach Ed Joyce demands from his team - but what he got in that first over from his two best batters strayed from fearless into brainless.

Orla Prendergast struck two glorious drives to the off-side boundary in the second over but then ran herself out and when Delany was bowled by opposite number Kathryn Bryce for two and Richardson held at mid-off, Ireland were 25-5 in the seventh over.

Left-hander Leah Paul mounted a salvage operation, making 45 from 51 balls, as she added 22 with Rebecca Stokell, and a further 60 with Arlene Kelly, who contributed an aggressive 35 to give Ireland just a glimmer of hope.

Scotland were clinical in their reply, though, with opener Megan McColl hitting the only six of the contest in an inventive 50 from 47 balls, and skipper Bryce following up her impressive bowling figures of 4-8 with an unbeaten 35.