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Waringstown girl Cara impresses on historic Ireland call-up before washout

By Ian Callender

Ireland Women's final Twenty20 international against hosts Zimbabwe was abandoned yesterday because of a wet outfield, leaving the series tied at 1-1.

But 17-year-old Cara Murray, the first Ulster player to be selected for an Ireland team since 2008, had made a promising start to her international career, not out in her only innings and taking her first wicket in the second game of the series.

Murray, the Waringstown leg spinner, had figures of 10-0-24-1 - comfortably the most economical Irish bowling and the second best of the match - as Ireland defended 207-5 for a 12-run win.

The Irish batting was dominated by a record fifth-wicket partnership of 171 between former skipper Isobel Joyce (91 not out) and Rachel Delaney (68), who was run out in the final over, after Ireland had lost four wickets for 35.

Murray, who had made a nervous start with the ball when given her debut last Thursday, was the sixth bowler used and backed up player of the match Delaney, who finished with three for 33 as Zimbabwe were bowled out in the 47th over.

Zimbabwe won the first match, which was rain-interrupted, by seven wickets, but it needed Murray's batting heroics at No.9 to ensure a competitive total. Coming to the middle at 99 for seven, the debutant shared a partnership of 74 with Shauna Kavanagh, who may have dominated the stand by hitting five sixes in her 74, but Murray finished 14 not out from 30 balls to ensure Ireland batted their overs.

After a rain delay, Zimbabwe were set 140 in 33 overs and won with seven overs to spare.

The teams meet in a five-match ODI series starting on Thursday, and flying in to captain the Ireland team is Kim Garth who, on Sunday, picked up her second consecutive winners' medal at the Women's Big Bash in Australia.

Garth was a key bowler for the Sydney Sixers - who won the final by nine wickets - throughout the tournament, finishing with 13 wickets, bettered by only two others, and took one of the wickets in the decider at a cost of seven runs as the Perth Scorchers were bowled out for 99.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Ireland's game against West Indies at the World Cup qualifying tournament next month is one of 10 to be televised worldwide.

The game on Saturday, March 10 is Ireland's third of four group games, with the top three in each of the two groups qualifying for the Super Sixes. All the games at the Harare Sports Club in the final stages will be televised, and that will include all three Ireland ties - assuming they qualify - seeded to be against Zimbabwe, Scotland and Afghanistan.

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