Photo Credit: Cricket Ireland
Ireland Women head into a crucial Group 2 game with Pakistan on Wednesday looking to claim their first win of the tournament, and in the process kick-start their 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup campaign.
Having taken the scalp of world champions Australia in a warm-up game ahead of the tournament, allrounder Orla Prendergast said that the confidence they got from that was huge, as it showed that they can compete on the world’s biggest stage.
Pembroke Cricket Club’s Prendergast, 20, has rapidly established herself in the Ireland top order and as a key bowling option for head coach Ed Joyce after missing much of last year with a foot injury.
Speaking about the challenge of facing Pakistan in Newlands, Prendergast said:
“I think we can take a huge amount of confidence from that series win back in November. We know how they play; we know a lot of their players and how we need to bat and bowl against them. Today [against England] was obviously a big game, and one we were hoping to play well in, but our next game is one that we’re definitely targeting to come away with a win. That series in Pakistan was obviously very close between two very evenly matched sides in my opinion, so it should be a great game.”
Ireland came into the world cup looking to play with positive intent from the get-go, and that showed early on in the England game:
“It’s something we spoke about – our intent off the bat and how we had to take the game on and continue to take the positive options as much as we can. I suppose a lot of our training has been geared towards that definitely, and a lot of work on our power and where we can really take our boundaries and hit sixes. It’s something that obviously came off in patches in the England game and we can definitely take confidence from that into our next game.
“There’s definitely lots of positives in there. Then with the ball, I think the power play kind of got away from us in a way, but to drag it back like we did – something we talked about a lot is to have a lot of grit and determination, and so to drag it back like that, and end up with as many wickets as we did, is extremely pleasing.”
Prendergast admitted after the England defeat that there were some nerves around as the squad played their first game at a world cup since 2018:
“There were probably a few nerves around camp as it was our first game at the World Cup and a lot of us haven’t played in one before – so definitely a few nerves, but I think everyone is ready for it. Everyone was just more excited than anything to get out there.
“Gaby and Amy started incredibly well out there. We obviously lost wickets in clusters, which is never ideal, but we all went out there with the same intent to keep trying to score and keep trying to take the game on, which is something we’ve spoken about. I suppose our batting performance probably wasn’t quite where we wanted to be but there’s definite positives which we could take from it.
“I think spin was definitely difficult to face, it was a bit quicker than what we’re used to facing, and I suppose it’s a case of trying to get used to that in a way. The quicker spin changes the way you can move your feet to it, and personally that’s something I really like to do is my move my feet to spin, so I have to reassess with how flat they are.”
Another positive from the England game was the performance of bowler Cara Murray, who took 3-15, including the wickets of their captain Heather Knight and Women’s IPL-bound allrounder Nat Sciver-Brunt. Prendergast was full of praise for the 22-year-old spinner:
“Cara was absolutely amazing. She has been in great form coming into this tournament and yeah, three big scalps. I know she’s done a lot of work with Nathan (Hauritz), our new spin bowling coach, and it’s just great to see the hard work pay off for her and hopefully she can carry that on into the next game.”
Ireland Women take on Pakistan Women in Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday 15 February at 7pm local time (5pm Ireland time).