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Emmet Riordan (Irish Times)

Ireland crushed by Sri Lanka

Ireland lost their first big test of the ICC Women's World Twenty20 qualifiers at Merrion Cricket Club today, as they went down to a eight-wicket defeat to tournament top seeds Sri Lanka.

Having been put in to bat, the home side's top order was blasted out by some fine bowling and only a 10th wicket stand that took a leaf out of Australia's book against England of late helped them to a total of 62 for nine off their 20 overs.

Kim Garth did claim the wicket of opener Chamari Atapattu for 10, while skipper Isobel Joyce marked her 100th cap for Ireland by trapping lbw Yasoda Mendis for 20, but Deepika Rasangika's unbeaten 22 from 29 balls saw Sri Lanka home with 31 balls to spare.

The result means Ireland will face second seeds Pakistan in the first semi-final at Claremont Road on Monday morning at 10am, with Sri Lanka taking on the Netherlands in the second game after they claimed second place in Group A thanks to net run rate despite a 20-run defeat to Pakistan in the earlier game.

The two semi-final winners will claim places at next year's Women's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, with the losers battling out for the final spot in the third/fourth place play-off. Both games also take place at Claremont Road on Wednesday.

Ireland's hopes of setting a really competitive score were in many respects dependent on in-form opener Clare Shillington, after her 195 runs in the opening two games.

It wasn't to be as she was bowled by the pacy Sripali Weerakkody with her first delivery, while her third ball got through the defences of Cecelia Joyce as she went for a duck.

Twin sister Isobel was trapped leg before by Eshani Kaushalya in the next over to leave the home side's top order in tatters on five for three.

Garth and Mary Waldron stemmed the flow of wickets, but they struggled to clear the infield against some fine Sri Lankan bowling and after 10 overs Ireland had just 21 runs on the board.

Waldron was stumped going down the wicket to spinner Chandima Gunaratne for five and two balls later Garth was desperately unlucky to be run out for 12 when the bowler got her fingers to a straight drive from Eimear Richardson to deflect the ball on to the stumps.

Richardson hammered the next ball down the ground for the first four of the innings, but they were to be her only runs before she was bowled by Shashikala Siriwardene in the next over to leave Ireland on 26 for six.

That they would go on to over double their score was thanks to a fine 10th-wicket stand between Louise McCarthy and Elena Tice, the pair putting on an unbeaten 23 in four overs, with 15-year-old Tice hitting two boundaries in an unbeaten 14 off 15 balls.