England made it two wins from two in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 thanks to a sublime showing from their spinners in a four-wicket victory over Ireland.
The trio of Sophie Ecclestone, Sarah Glenn and Charlie Dean were all on song, combining for eight wickets between them as Ireland stumbled from 80 for two to 105 all out.
England required just 14.2 overs to knock off the total, with Alice Capsey doing the heavy lifting as her quickfire 51 ensured her side’s unbeaten start to the tournament continued.
After opting to bat upon winning the toss, Ireland’s first over was an eventful one with Gaby Lewis striking two boundaries either side of being put down by Danni Wyatt.
The enterprising start would continue as a textbook drive got Amy Hunter up and running and even the introduction of Ecclestone into the attack did not yield an immediate breakthrough.
But Dean did soon find a much-needed first wicket, with Amy Hunter dismissed for 15 as Sophia Dunkley claimed a smart catch on the rope at deep mid-wicket.
England managed to rein in the fast start when Orla Prendergast joined Lewis at the crease, as Ireland passed the 50 mark in the eighth over.
Not long into the attack, Glenn was soon on the board, claiming England’s second wicket as she clean bowled Prendergast a ball after being dispatched to the cover boundary.
Lewis continued to battle away but with the boundaries drying up the pressure mounted, and Wyatt made no mistake second time round, pouching a hard and flat sweep from the bat of Ireland’s opener.
That precipitated a flurry of wickets which would see England wrap up Ireland’s innings, with the batting side losing their final eight wickets for just 25 runs.
Ecclestone took two in two before pouching a mistimed shot from Louise Little. Glenn then struck twice in quick succession as Ireland desperately tried to wrestle back momentum with some aggressive but ultimately fatal strokes.
And the final wickets fell not long after but not before England’s spinners took their eighth – a record for the most scalps taken by England spinners in a T20 international.
There was some early hope for Ireland when they took to the field, with the dangerous Dunkley dismissed at the end of England’s first over when looking to hit Prendergast for back-to-back fours.
Her departure brought Capsey to the crease and the 18-year-old was at her devastating best, bringing up her half-century off just 21 balls – the joint-fastest at an ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – fittingly passing the landmark with a bruising six.
The 11th boundary of her innings would be the final one, however, as Leah Paul produced an excellent diving catch to bring the big hitting to a close.
Opener Wyatt was then run out after a mix up with Nat Sciver-Brunt which saw the former stranded halfway down the wicket.
The wickets continued to tumble, with England’s final five wickets falling for 33 runs before Katherine Sciver-Brunt struck the winning runs with 34 balls to spare.
England’s toughest test yet arrives on Saturday when they face India, while Ireland have a quick turnaround and face Pakistan on Wednesday.
Scores in brief:
England beat Ireland at Boland Park, Paarl by four wickets
Ireland 105 all out in 18.2 overs (Gaby Lewis 36, Orla Prendergast 17; Sophie Ecclestone 3/13, Sarah Glenn 3/19)
England 107/6 in 14.2 overs (Alice Capsey 51, Heather Knight 14; Cara Murray 3/15, Orla Prendergast 1/13)
Player of the Match: Alice Capsey (England).