By Richard Boxall

In their first ever T20 international match, the Cyprus women’s team beat their opponents Estonia by 49 runs at Happy Valley, in the first game of a six match series.

Cyprus were led to victory by their captain Iresha Chathurani, who top-scored with 42 not out after the team had slipped to 59-6, enabling them to reach 145-7 from their 20 overs.

In reply Estonia were restricted to 96-6, with Samanthi Chathurangi starring with two wickets and a run out.

After training hard for several months with their coach, Andy Crawford, the team was delighted to be successful in their first match sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

In the second match Cyprus bowled out Estonia for 75, with Dinelka Darshani taking 3-5, before knocking off the runs in 12 overs with 6 wickets in hand.

Next day Cyprus hit 121-4 (Iresha 31 not out) and restricted Estonia to 68-7, with Dinelka taking 2-8 and Alexandra Taylor 2-14.

The same afternoon the fourth match produced the closest contest as Estonia made a valiant effort to chase down the Cyprus score of 108-4, of which Iresha made 46 not out. Ayesha Anuradhi took 2-14 and Samanthi 2-22  in the Estonia reply of 103-6, leaving Cyprus as winners by just 5 runs.

Cyprus currently hold an unassailable 4-0 lead with two matches to play.

Immediately prior to the T20Is the two teams had played a series of five 10-over matches organised by the European Cricket Network, which also broadcast both series to a worldwide audience. These matches also were dominated by Cyprus, who won the series 4-1,

Again their skipper Iresha Chathurani was at the forefront, hitting the most runs in the series – 153 at an average of 76.5. The leading bowler in the tournament was Cyprus’ opening bowler Dinelka Darshani with 8 wickets – twice as many as any other bowler – at a terrific average of 3.62.

Overall it has been an excellent start to international cricket for the Cyprus women, who play the game with great enthusiasm and excitement, and will be keen for more opportunities to develop their talents.