IRELAND WOMEN turned in a battling performance on their T20 World Cup debut before going down to New Zealand by 42 runs in Sylhet.

The White Ferns, one of the favourites for the tournament took advantage of a nervous Irish display in the field to rack up a formidable 171 for 3 in their 20 overs.

They were always in the driving seat following an opening stand of 116 between skipper Suzie Bates (68) and Frances McKay (51).

Both benefitted from reprieves, and it could have been a different story if a number of half chances had been taken.

Bates struck ten boundaries in her powerful innings, while McKay accelerated after initially playing the anchor role. She took 49 balls for her 51 which included six fours.

Eimear Richardson (2-32) accounted for both openers, but the bowling honours went to skipper Isobel Joyce who took 1 for 17 in her four overs, including the wicket of Priest for just six.

The experienced Sara McGlashan gave the innings late impetus as she struck three sixes and two fours to finish with an unbeaten 34 from just 13 deliveries.

Chasing a daunting total, Ireland were always positive in their intent, and they can be well pleased with their batting display, which saw them find the boundary ropes on no fewer than 17 occasions.

Clare Shillington struck six of those in an entertaining 28 from just 25 balls after the early dismissal of Emma Flanagan (5).

Isobel Joyce kept the momentum going with a breezy 24, and the innings was given more than an air of respectability by a positive and inventive undefeated 39 in just 28 balls from Cecelia Joyce.

The final Irish total of 129 for 6 saw them beaten but far from disgraced on their T20 debut on the world stage.

They have little time to reflect on what might have been as they are back in action on Thursday when they face the might of Australia, once again in Sylhet.

ICC Women's World Twenty20

At Sylhet International Stadium

NEW ZEALAND WOMEN 171/3 (20 overs, S Bates 68, F McKay 51, S McGlashan 34*, E Richardson 2-32, I Joyce 1-17) beat IRELAND WOMEN 129/6 (20 overs, C Joyce 39*, C Shillington 28, I Joyce 24, M Nielsen 2-23) by 42 runs.