Laura Delany

Delany thinking big picture as Ireland eye T20 World Cup berth

Ireland captain Laura Delany is hoping to use the upcoming ICC Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier to help continue the recent growth of cricket in her country.

Delany will spearhead Ireland's campaign in Abu Dhabi over the next fortnight as Ireland attempt to earn one of two available spots at the ICC Women's T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in September and October this year.

While Ireland have appeared in four previous editions of the Women's T20 World Cup, they have been outclassed at many of those events and are yet to register a victory from 17 matches against the powerhouse countries of the women’s game.

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But led by Delany and boasting a mix of big names that includes star batter Gaby Lewis, young all-rounder Orla Prendergast and experienced pacer Arlene Kelly, Ireland are out to impress at the qualifier and earn yet another ticket to take on the best teams around the globe at the T20 World Cup.

"It would be massive for us as a group and for women’s cricket at home," Delany said on Monday.

"Very few games at home are televised and to get into a (T20) World Cup would mean that those games would get shown on TV and hopefully that would help increase the audience for women’s cricket.

"For us as a group to be playing against the best sides in the world is exactly where we want to be and that is why these tournaments are so important. They might be nerve wracking at times, but this is exactly where you want to be as a team."

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Ireland received a wake-up call when they lost their opening warm-up fixture for the qualifier against Scotland on Sunday, but the European side have another chance to impress when they take on USA in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Delany is looking for an immediate response from her side, given Ireland's opening match of the qualifier comes against the hosts UAE on Thursday.Ireland also face the Netherlands, Vanuatu and Zimbabwe in Group B at the qualifier and need to finish in the top two spots to earn a place in the semi-finals of the event.

"We didn’t get enough runs on the board (against Scotland)," Delany admitted.

"We didn’t get above 100 (runs), which in this tournament we are going to have to do that if we want to beat sides.

"I thought we bowled and fielded well at times, we just didn’t have enough to defend and didn’t take enough early wickets and we were on the backfoot from early on in that second innings and we found it really tough to get into a winning position.

"We have to take it one game at a time and we can’t look too far ahead. That game against USA tomorrow will be a good game, we haven’t played against them in the last few years and we are unsure what to expect. That is a good challenge for us to try and turn things around from yesterday."

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