Orla Prendergast and skipper Laura Delany gave Ireland a massive boost ahead of the T20 World Cup by spearheading an astonishing victory over world champions and tournament favourites Australia in Stellenbosch.

While it was ‘only’ an official warm-up, the upset has to rank among the top moments in Irish cricket history, alongside the men’s famous World Cup wins over Pakistan and England in 2007 and 2011 - and by the same three-wicket margin as those games.

Prendergast got Ireland off to the best possible start by forcing superstar Beth Mooney to play on first ball of the match and also disturbed skipper Meg Lanning’s stumps to finish with 2-19 from four overs as Australia racked up 168-3.

Openers Amy Hunter and Gaby Lewis flew out of the traps in oursuit, adding 39 in 3.5 overs, and Prendergast maintained the momentum with three fours and a six in an aggressive cameo of 26 from 15 balls.

The Breakfast Club of supporters back home began to believe the impossible could happen when Delany hit three successive fours in the 14th over, and Louise Little added another to leave her side needing 40 from 35 balls.

Little was stumped for 21 and Delany bowled for a top score of 32 but after coming within three runs of beating Sri Lanka on Monday the Girls in Green were not to be denied this time and Arlene Kelly hit a maximum in the final over as victory was secured with two balls to spare.

Ireland will now believe they have a realistic chance of beating either or both the West Indies and Pakistan when the tournament proper gets underway next week, if not juggernauts India in their final game on February 20.

First up, though, is a group match against England on Monday. Is it too much to ask of a repeat of that unforgettable men’s win in Bangalore 12 years ago? Probably. But with coach Ed Joyce’s side making such impressive strides, three may be a magic number yet again!