Ciara Metcalfe’s match-winning haul of 3/8 against Uganda in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier included her 100th wicket for Ireland.
Getting to the milestone, which includes returns in international cricket as well as county games where Ireland have participated as one of the teams, was a “special occasion”, she said after her heroics on Tuesday, 10 July.
It kept Ireland unbeaten as they stormed into the semi-finals of the tournament.
“It went well,” she said. “With regards to the 100th wicket, I felt it was never going to come and I had to just concentrate on doing my best with the ball. You get caught up, it’s like someone on 99, or looking for their fifty, you get caught up in that moment instead of doing what you need to do.
“But the wicket was good for me, I got some turn and I got some wickets, so it worked out well.”
Metcalfe, who will be 39 in September, is one of the most experienced hands on the Irish circuit. She made her debut back in 1999, and played in their only Test back in 2000 against Pakistan as well.
She started out as a wicket-keeper, before bowling seam up, and switched to leg-spin after watching another blonde bowler like herself, the great Shane Warne.
She announced her retirement in 2011 before she was convinced to return to the game, and has continued to chip away at the batters with her leg-spin.
“At the start of my career we were only playing about three games a summer, but the games have upped over recent years, so it’s taken a long time to get to 100 wickets,” she said.
“It’s a really special occasion, and it eases us into the semi-finals of this tournament.”
Interestingly, Ireland’s stars this tournament have been the two women who have one eye on retirement. Metcalfe and Clare Shillington, 37, who was Player of the Match in their first two outings and has turned out for her country since 1997, have both said the series against Bangladesh before this tournament was their last at home.
They’ll be hoping their team makes it to the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in the Caribbean later this year, where they can bow out on a high.
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