Alice Capsey hit a masterful 21-ball half-century to lead England to a second Women’s T20 World Cup win as they eased to a four-wicket win over Ireland at Paarl.
The teenager, who was snapped up by the Delhi Capitals in the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction while fielding for England, set her sights on victory with 34 balls to spare.
England had knocked out Ireland for just 105 but there were some warning signs for Heather Knight’s side as they easily reached the aggregate, but lost six wickets in the process.
Capsey broke the record for England’s fastest 50 in the women’s T20 internationals before being caught by a long-range diving Leah Paul to finish with 51 from just 22 deliveries.
England were on their way to victory, by 70 for one, but lost several quick wickets in the chase of the low total, with Katherine Sciver-Brunt hitting the winning runs with four wickets to spare.
Ireland came into the game confidently after a shock victory over Australia in the pre-tournament warm-up, but were unable to capitalize on a quick start with the bat as they were knocked out for 105.
Gaby Lewis top-scored for Ireland with 36 at the top of the table as they reached 27 without a loss in the first four overs before a somewhat odd delay due to injury and a loose stump microphone wire.
But despite an impressive start, Ireland lost steady wickets in the middle of the innings, including a double-wicket maiden for Sophie Ecclestone, who was also one of the big names in the WPL auction.
Ireland slipped from 80 for two to 105 all out with Ecclestone and Sarah Glenn picking up three wickets each, while Charlie Dean claimed two more as the spinners capitalized.
In reply, England started as they had finished the first game against the West Indies, looking to push the boundaries rather than be content to rotate the strike, despite Ireland’s low total.
Sophia Dunkley chipped the ball straight to halfway moments after hitting off target with a boundary to become the first wicket of the second innings in the first over.
The wicket put Capsey in the crease and she and Danni Wyatt (16) put England in a dominant position, with a partnership of 66 runs, but then the wickets started to fall.
Joint top overseas pick in the WPL, Nat Sciver-Brunt scored just five before being caught in the deep end, with Knight and Amy Jones also knocked out before England reached the required total with 34 deliveries to go.