Thailand and Bangladesh sealed two spots at next years’ ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia by winning their respective semi-finals in the World Cup Qualifiers in London. Bangladesh knocked out Ireland in a low-scoring thriller, while Thailand thrashed Papua New Guinea (PNG) by eight wickets.
Ireland got off to a nightmare start as they lost their top three with just 15 runs on the board in the first semi-final of the day, after winning the toss and opting to bat first at Forthill. With an overall disciplined performance in the field, led by Fahima Khatun’s three for 18, Bangladesh restricted Ireland to paltry 85. However, the chase turned out to much more trickier than expected for the experienced Asian outfit.
Ireland returned the early collapse favour and had their opponents reduced to 34 for four after 10 overs. But then, Bangladesh strung together a 36-run stand till a run out in the 17th over which saw Ritu Moni depart for 15. Bangladesh still required 15 runs from 18 deliveries, when back to back boundaries from Sanjida Islam (35 not out) in the 18th over, all but secured their victory.
A four off the first ball from Jahanara Alam (6 not out) followed by two singles took Bangladesh to victory in the penultimate over of the game. The other semi-final, another low scoring affair, went on a starkly contrasting route. Thailand qualified for their first-ever major event with a commanding win over PNG in Dundee to join Bangladesh on the plane to Australia.
Their openers, Chantam (18 off 31) and Chaiwai (32 off 40), made a composed start to their chase of PNG’s total of 67, hitting just five boundaries in their partnership. After both were dismissed by the end of the 16th over, Koncharoenkai (16 not out) and Boochatham (2 not out) finished off proceedings.
Both Bangladesh and Thailand will now lock horns in the summit clash on Saturday to decide who heads into Group A and Group B at the T20 World Cup. The 10-team World Cup begins on February 21, 2020, in Sydney.