Ireland Women's captain Laura Delany was thrilled after booking their place in the ICC Women's World T20, insisting "this is the best sporting team I’ve been involved in".
Ireland Women beat Papua New Guinea Women by 27 runs in the first semi-final of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier 2018 on Thursday, with the victory securing their place in the WT20Q final as well as their ticket to the ICC Women's WT20 main event.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic, and judging by the reaction after the game, everyone is thrilled to get the win here today,” Delany said after the game.
“We’ve been really fortunate to have a lot of cricket in Ireland in the lead up – a tough series against New Zealand and a good series against Bangladesh. That put us in good stead for the qualifying tournament."
But, she added, the big celebrations will happen after the final. "It [qualifying for the WT20] is not the job done. We're here to win the tournament, qualifying is a by-product of that."
Ireland won the 2015 edition of the tournament, beating Bangladesh in the final. With the teams meeting again for this edition's final on Saturday, Ireland know it will be a tough game. "I'm confident going into Saturday that we're going to lift our standard. I think we still have a lot left in the tank. I don't think we've hit a 100% yet, which is a good thing going into the final," said the captain.
One aspect they'll need to work on is their batting. The 113/6 Ireland posted was par on a tricky surface, but they needed to do better, admitted Delany. "We didn’t fire with the bat the way we would have liked to, but I’m very confident come Saturday [the final] we’ll put that right.
"Bowling wise and on the field, I'm really impressed with how the girls went about it."
“There were a few nerves around today because there was so much at stake on this game, but this is the best sporting team that I’ve been involved in and I think the next six months is an incredibly exciting time for Irish women’s cricket. [It’s] a chance to do something that no Irish women’s team has done before, and that's win a few games at the [World T20]."