Ian Chadband / AAP News
Picture: Australian Women’s Cricket Team
Tahlia McGrath has maintained her extraordinary start to T20 international life with Australia, playing her fourth innings and winning a fourth player of the match award as she and captain Meg Lanning combined to crush Ireland in Bready.
McGrath was rewarded for her blistering 70 off 45 balls in the 63-run victory over the hosts at the Northern Irish venue on Thursday.
Lanning, leading the way with 74 off 49 balls also put Ireland’s bowlers to the sword as the world champions began to look the part with the Commonwealth Games just around the corner.
The pair’s imposing partnership of 140 helped Australia pile up 4-182 off their 20 overs, which proved far too much for the outclassed hosts.
In reply, Ireland were reduced to 7-119, with Megan Schutt (3-0-16-2), Jess Jonassen (4-0-27-2) and Alana King (3-0-11-2) all doing the damage.
Schutt became just the second Australian woman to reach 100 T20I wickets after Ellyse Perry.
It was Australia’s second straight win – their other match was rained off – as they went to the top of their Tri-Nation 20 series table on 10 points, with Pakistan on six and winless Ireland yet to pick up a point.
Allrounder McGrath was deemed the star of the show, her 70 decorated with 11 boundaries.
Amazingly, in her eight T20Is, the 26-year-old from Adelaide has batted just four times for her country in this format – and been voted player of the match on each occasion where she’s produced a dazzling knock.
When she was dismissed for 70, it was the first time anyone had ever captured her wicket in a T20I, leaving her with the cool average of 247!
Australia will have one more match in Ireland against Pakistan on Saturday before they travel to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, where they’ll be outstanding favourites to become the inaugural women’s cricket champions.