With comprehensive losses to Australia, Pakistan, India and New Zealand, Ireland finished at the bottom of Group B and will look back at the tournament as an opportunity missed.
Ireland, one of two teams – the other being Bangladesh – to make the main tournament through the ICC Women's World T20 Qualifier 2018, suffered a heavy defeat in their very first match, losing by nine wickets to Australia after posting just 93/6 in 20 overs – Kim Garth top-scored with 24.
Next up, the Irish were up against the team they had publicly marked out for a potential upset – Pakistan. But Ireland were left frustrated and teary-eyed after they went down by 38 runs. Lucy O'Reilly had produced a spell of 3/19 to keep Pakistan down to 139/6, but the batters weren't able to step up to the challenge. They managed to top 100 for the only time in the tournament, though.
Garth again stood out, this time with the ball, taking 2/22 against India, but the Ireland batters once again fell well short in a chase of 146, going on to lose by 53 runs.
In their final game, against New Zealand, Ireland were kept down to a paltry 79/9, which was then chased down in just 7.3 overs, Sophie Devine blazing a 21-ball fifty.
Positives to take home
Youngsters Kim Garth and Lucy O'Reilly showed ample promise with the ball, and that is something Ireland will hope to nurture and nourish. Garth picked up three wickets and O'Reilly four, and both were reasonably economical as well. With the bat, the up-and-coming Gaby Lewis didn't quite get going in the first three games, but gave glimpses of potential in the last game, scoring a 36-ball 39.
Areas to improve
Ireland have to lift their game across departments. The bowling looked relatively good, but tended to wilt away under pressure of an assault. Handling the nerves is something the young guns will have to learn.
With Isobel Joyce, Cecelia Joyce, Clare Shillington and Ciara Metcalfe all hanging up their boots after the tournament, the reins have effectively been handed over to the younger generation. The likes of Lewis, Laura Delany, Garth and O'Reilly need to shoulder more responsibility. Ireland have a bunch of talented players, but they will need to fine-tune their skills.
The 22-year-old Garth was able to put in useful contributions in all games bar the final one against New Zealand. Against Australia, she scored a sensible 24, helping Ireland to a somewhat respectable total before picking up the only wicket to fall in the Australian innings. She played a supporting role to O'Reilly in the next game against Pakistan, keeping things tight, conceding just 25 from her four overs. She again proved her worth by getting rid of Mithali Raj and Smriti Mandhana – two scalps any bowler would be proud of – in the match against India. The youngster has displayed potential and will know that she can get even better.
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