Australia Women sealed their ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2016 semifinal spot with a convincing seven-wicket win over Ireland Women at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi on Saturday (March 26). After being warm and still for a few days, the weather turned, a cool breeze and overcast skies providing relief, but there was none for Ireland, who ended their tournament winless.
After being put in by Australia, Ireland began brightly enough, Clare Shillington getting off the mark with a sweetly struck six over midwicket. Shillington made the most of the batting Power Play, opening the face of the bat to run the ball past the wicketkeeper for four.
Shillington and Cecelia Joyce put 33 on the board before Australia got going. Shillington (33) attempted one big shot too many, but only managed to find mid-off.
Australia then strung together a sequence of tight overs that forced Cecelia to try and manufacture a shot. Unfortunately for her, she could not clear midwicket and Kristen Beams judged the catch to perfection. Joyce had made 23.
Kim Garth then provided the only other significant score of the innings, making 27, but she took all of 46 balls to get there, before chipping one to long off.
From there on, the Ireland innings could not regain momentum, and with no-one else registering double figures they had to be content with 91 for 7 from 20 overs.
The target was unlikely to seriously challenge Australia, and Alyssa Healy and Elyse Villani were off the blocks in a flash. The boundaries came easily and it was against the run of play that the first wicket fell, Healy being well caught by Isobel Joyce at midwicket, who dived to her right and scooped the ball up one-handed.
Meg Lanning tried to be positive but was caught out by a ball that kept a touch low, her pull shot failing to connect as the ball from Garth pegged back middle stump. At 31 for 2, Australia were in a spot of bother, but there was plenty of batting to come and it was far too early for any alarm bells to be ringing.
Ellyse Perry provided strong support to Villani and the pair took Australia to within sniffing distance of victory before the third wicket fell with 85 on the board. Villani, who deserved a half-century, hit one to cover, falling for a 35-ball 43.
Perry, unbeaten on 29, ensured that there were no further dramas as Australia got home with seven wickets and nearly as many overs to spare.