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Joyce proud as Irish girls dig deep to clinch title

By Ian Callender

Another trophy was heading back to the Cricket Ireland offices in Dublin this morning and this time it was brought home by the Women's team.

Already guaranteed a place in next year's World Twenty20 in India next year, in the tournament which will take place simultaneously with the Men's event in March, Ireland claimed a dramatic last-ball victory in the qualifying tournament decider against Bangladesh, who will also join the top eight Test sides in the finals.

Chasing a victory target of just 106 after another excellent bowling performance, Ireland made hard work of it despite scoring 24 off the first two overs. But following the loss of Ulster-born opener Claire Shillington, another six wickets fell in the next 17 overs for just 73 runs leaving Ireland still needing nine from the last nine balls.

Robyn Lewis was the third player to be run out next ball, following her 14-year-old sister Gaby and captain Isobel Joyce, but the cool head of 22-year-old Laura Delany scored a couple of twos and three singles to leave 16-year-old Lucy O'Reilly needing a single off the last ball for victory.

Bangladesh bowler Salma Khatun was so desperate to claim a tie that she removed the bails in her delivery stride, attempting to run out Delany, but the umpires, having given her out, reversed their decision and young O'Reilly duly hit the final ball through mid-on for the winning single.

The attempted run-out was not in the spirit of the game but captain Joyce was just happy to concentrate on the victory after receiving the trophy in the rain.

"It's an amazing feeling and I'm so proud of my team for getting over the line in tough conditions. I'm delighted for Laura because she didn't have it her own way, but she stuck in and was there to help the team over the line," said Joyce.

"Bangladesh are an excellent bowling team, especially Salma who is so experienced."

Ireland are the first Associate country to have both teams in two World Twenty20s.

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