IRELAND cricketer Ciara Metcalfe says a win today against Bangladesh in the T20 World Cup qualifying final would be a huge boost for the sport.
Aaron Hamilton’s side overcame Scotland on Thursday to secure a place in today’s final in Bangkok, while also ensuring a place at the World Cup in India next March.
IRELAND QUALIFY FOR T20 CRICKET WORLD CUP
Speaking following the team’s victory against Scotland, Metcalfe said the players were now focusing completely on today’s final, which will take place at 1.45pm local time (6.45pm Irish time).
“To qualify for the World Cup next year is brilliant and it’s what we set out to do, but now we’ll go into Saturday and try win against Bangladesh.
“They’re a very good side and we watched them play Zimbabwe in their semi-final. They’ve lots of spinners and they’re a very confident team, but I think we have the beating of them,” said the Pembroke star, who boasts more than 70 caps for Ireland.
Led by head coach Aaron Hamilton, assistant coach Alex Cusack, who recently retired from the men’s game, and captain Isobel Joyce, the Irish team have improved massively since losing all their group games at the last T20 World Cup in Bangladesh.
“It’s so exciting to be part of,” Metcalfe added, having returned to the national set-up this summer.
“We’ll be looking to aim higher at next year’s World Cup in March and it’ll be a tough coming up against the top teams in the world.
IRISH WOMEN’S CRICKET TEAM A SPECIAL GROUP
“I’ve been involved in a lot of Irish teams over the years and at the time you’re thinking to yourself that it’s the best team, but I think skill wise and with the resources Cricket Ireland are putting in, that this is definitely a very special group.
“Women’s cricket in Ireland is in a good place. Cricket Ireland set up a Super Three last summer with the purpose of women’s cricket being played a lot more and I think that really helped in bringing on players and allowed people to showcase their skills. More players are been seen and it’s attracting more players to come to Ireland. It is very much in its infancy, but it’s the way forward for us,” added Metcalfe.
Having departed Ireland on November 20, the squad will play the final this evening in 30-plus degree heat before returning home to Dublin on Sunday.