Ireland Women suffered their third consecutive defeat in the ICC World Twenty20 in Sylhet on Saturday when they were comprehensively outplayed by South Africa, finally succumbing to an 86-run defeat.
By the time the South Africans completed their 20 overs, they were on 165 for five and had set Ireland an imposing target.
In the end, though, Ireland’s challenge petered out, and they managed to bat just for just 15 overs for a disappointing 79 all out, although Cecelia Joyce was unable to bat having picked up an injury while fielding.
Taking first use of the pitch on a very hot afternoon, Lizelle Lee and Dane van Niekerk gave South Africa a solid if unspectacular start, batting their way through the first ten overs before Eimear Richardson got Ireland on the board by dismissing the latter for 25.
The Proteas were 57 for 1 at that point and a couple of tidy overs from Amy Kenealy and Lena Tice ensured that Ireland stayed well in the game in the middle stages.
Isobel Joyce then did for the dangerous Lee but only after the opener had made an excellent 43 from 40 balls (5 fours and a six) before cameos from Mignon Du Preeze (14) and Marizanne Kapp (18) set up a big finish from the batting side.
Chloe Tryon and Sune Luus may only have come together at the start of the 17th, but it was to be three overs of carnage as the pair laid into the Irish attack.
In the space of just 18 balls they plundered an additional 63 runs, taking the game away from Ireland in 15 minutes of mayhem- Tryon blasting 3 fours and 3 sixes in her 12-ball unbeaten 35 while her partner added 29 off just 10 deliveries, including 6 fours. Despite Luus being run out off the last ball of the innings the South Africans closed on 165-5.
There were four wicket-takers for the Irish ladies- skipper Joyce and Kenealy doing best (both 1-26) while Tice (1-32) and Richardson (1-44) made up the quartet.
Ireland's reply got off to a bad start as Clare Shillington was bowled by Shabnim Ismail in the first over before Mary Waldron and Isobel Joyce led a mini-revival.
That pair added 40 runs in 8 overs but with the required rate creeping up Ireland were forced on to the attack and Waldron was stumped off the bowling of Marcia Letsoalo for 33 (7 fours).
With the score on 56 Joyce was next to go, lbw to van Niekerk for 15 in what looked like a soft decision for the captain and after that the writing was on the wall.
Melissa Scott-Hayward was the only other player to make double figures (14).
Three wickets apiece for Ismail and van Niekerk, two for Letsoalo and one for Kapp in an impressive win for South Africa but for coach Trent Johnston and the Irish ladies, there is just pride to play for now when they play Pakistan on Monday.