Ireland fall just short in Pakistan clash
IRELAND WOMEN finished the group stages of their World T20 campaign with a fourth consecutive defeat leaving Trent Johnston's charges bottom of the Group A table after a narrow 14-run reverse at the hands of Pakistan.
Sylhet hasn't been a happy hunting ground for the Irish this week, however they started brightly enough in this vital encounter with Amy Kenealy (0-15), Isobel Joyce (2-26) and Louise McCarthy (2-14) keeping the Pakistani batters quiet early on.
The latter pairing combined to reduce their opponents to 22-3 and despite steadying knocks from Qainta Jalil (20) and Bishmah Maroof it took a full ten overs for them to take their side past 50.
The pair added 36 before Elena Tice took a stunning caught and bowled chance to dismiss Qanita. The steady influence of left-hander Maroof and Sana Mir (16) added another valuable 30, leaving Pakistan on 88-5 and at that stage the Irish ladies were well in the contest.
Runs remained hard come by and in the end it was the excellent efforts of Maroof who finished unbeaten on 48 (3 fours) that allowed her side to close on a competitive 119 for 6.
That said, Isobel Joyce wouldn't have been overly disappointed at the half way stage either, the bowling unit getting it in the right areas for the best part with Elena Tice (1-20) completing another fine spell.
Joyce's side's batting has been their better suit this week but their reply started poorly with Mary Waldron out in the first over. Fellow opener Clare Shillington then put on 44 for the second wicket with her skipper as Ireland put themselves right back in the mix.
Even after Shillington fell, Joyce and Tice kept the momentum going and at 66-2 it looked there for the taking, however when both were dismissed in quick succession the wheels came off Ireland's innings as the required run rate steadily increased.
The Irish ladies struggled again in the middle and lower order and the Pakistani attack smothered any hopes of a late rally with only Eimear Richardson (13) making it into double figures thereafter as Ireland were dismissed for 119 with three balls remaining.
Asmavia Iqbal with 3-18 and Mir (2-20) did the bulk of the damage as Pakistan earned their first points of the tournament that left Ireland win-less at the bottom of the group, and naturally disappointed having been very much in the contest for long periods.
It is a case of back to the drawing board now for the 'Girls in Green' with just the placings play-off match to come, most likely on Thursday night against hosts Bangladesh where they will be hoping to end the tournament on a high note.