Scotland and Ireland women's wait for international action will culminate after an intermission of over 600 days with Stormont in Belfast holding its first International women's game since 1997.
Scotland and Ireland’s women have gone 21 months since their last international action. That wait was extended at least one more day, as weather delayed the scheduled May 23 start of the T20I series in Belfast. Teams and fans should be delighted that the game has been rescheduled for May 25 in an effort to keep the series at four games.
The teams were meant to meet for last November’s planned Celtic Women’s Series in Spain before the event was cancelled due to covid-19. This series offers a second chance for both teams to sharpen skills ahead of the European Qualifiers for the T20 World Cup in August.
📡: SERIES CHANGES TO NOTE— Ireland Women’s Cricket (@IrishWomensCric) May 23, 2021
A number of changes have been made to the Ireland Women v Scotland Women series.
➡️ Read more: https://t.co/P5tnP9AG6t#BackingGreen | @HanleyEnergy ☘️🏏 pic.twitter.com/dqSSegV67e
With a number of Irish first team regulars still playing abroad, including wicketkeeper Mary Waldron, a veteran of 102 Ireland international contests, the series also presents an opportunity for Ireland captain Laura Delany and debutant coach Mark Coles to test Ireland’s depth.
Captain Kathryn Bryce, who was recently named ICC’s Women’s Associate Cricketer of the Decade, will lead a young Scottish side featuring sister and vice-captain Sarah Bryce, young spinners Abtaha Maqsood and Katherine Fraser (youngest player to ever represent Scotland when she debuted), and uncapped Ikra Farooq and Alisa Lister.
The series also marks Ireland Women’s return to Stormont in Belfast, a venue that has not hosted international women’s cricket since 1997.
Barcelona Public Votes to Build Cricket Ground
The citizens of Sants-Montjuïc overwhelmingly supported a recent proposal to transform a municipal football field into a cricket ground. Of the 20 proposed projects that were submitted to a vote in the ‘priority phase’, the cricket ground project received the most support by an overwhelming majority, with over eight times the number of votes as the second highest supported project in the district.
A portion of Barcelona’s budget is allocated as ‘participatory budget’, meaning its distribution is voted on by the public. The city has set aside €30 million for participatory budgets for this cycle. Citizens vote in the ‘priority phase’, with the 20 most supported projects in each district moving on to the ‘concretisation phase.’ It is in the concretisation phase where the top 822 supported projects across the city are researched and priced. The cricket ground project in Sants-Montjuïc has been priced at over €1.1 million and awaits the final vote to take place between June 10 and June 20.
Howzat! Football-mad Barcelona votes to build cricket oval https://t.co/BRt0zF7AOh— The Guardian (@guardian) May 23, 2021
Regardless of the result of the eventual final vote, the support of the project demonstrates expanding popularity of cricket in Barcelona.
Austria win Central Europe Cup
Held from 21 May through 23 May at the Vinoř Cricket Ground in Prague, the seventh edition of the Central Europe Cup was contested between Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and tournament debutants Austria. Malta, originally scheduled to take part, were unable to participate due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Austria, the pre-tournament favorites, walked away with the championship, finishing the double round-robin tournament with a 3-1 record. Austria’s lone loss was to Luxembourg (with two balls to spare) in the early game on the final day of competition, but it wasn’t enough to threaten their place in the standings. The champions would go on to beat Czech Republic in the last game with 3.4 overs to spare for good measure.
Mark Simpson-Parker (160 runs at 53.33 average) and Bilal Zalmai (5 wickets at 5.91 economy) starred for Austria, with Czech Republic’s Sabawoon Davizi (162 runs) leading the tournament in runs, and Luxembourg’s Vikram Vijh and Czech’s Paul Taylor tying for the lead in wickets, with six.
Netherlands and Scotland end series at 1-1
Heroics from George Munsey and Dylan Budge helped Scotland level the series against the Netherlands, as the pair produced a 106 run unbroken fifth-wicket stand. The match had been moved up to Thursday in anticipation of poor Friday weather, as both teams were eager to get the game in.
The day before, Max O’Dowd had been the hero, scoring 82 from 102 to help Netherlands set a target of 164 for Scotland in an abbreviated 33 overs per side game. Netherlands bowlers Logan van Beek, Vivian Kingma, and Paul van Meekeran were economical in the defense, and Scotland couldn’t recover from early wickets, in spite of a swift 41 from Richie Berrington.
The batting wasn’t there in the second game for Netherlands, outside of a solid 40 by Stephan Myburgh and a half-century for Scott Edwards. Scotland’s Alasdair Evans was too dangerous for the Dutch, taking five wickets in his 9.4 overs, and Netherlands were all out in the 49th, leaving eight balls on the table.
Early struggles from Scotland’s batting warned of another failed chase, until Munsey and Budge took charge for the aforementioned fifth-wicket stand, taking Scotland from 66/4 to victory with 7.5 overs to spare.
Having last played an ODI in December of 2019, the series marked a long-awaited return to action in ODI cricket for Scotland. For the Netherlands, the series served as a quality warmup for their upcoming three-game home series against Ireland in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League.
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