Bangladesh and Ireland have booked their places at the next women’s T20 World Cup, to be held in South Africa early next year. In the semi-finals of the qualifying tournament in Abu Dhabi, while Bangladesh beat Thailand, Ireland edged past Zimbabwe. The two teams will meet in the final on Sunday, but that will have no bearing on their presence at the World Cup. Natthakan Chantham’s attacking 64 off 51 balls went in vain for Thailand in the second semi-final, as a lack of support from the other batters and sharp bowling from Bangladesh proved decisive in a low-scoring game.
Chantham hit four fours and three sixes in her knock, but the next-best score in Thailand’s reply to Bangladesh’s 113 for 5 was captain Naruemol Chaiwai’s 12. Sanjida Akter Meghla and Salma Khatun had reduced Thailand to 13 for 3 by the fifth over, before Chantham and Chaiwai briefly steadied the innings with a partnership of 32, which was broken by Nahida Akter. But Chantham continued the fight by adding 50 with Sornnarin Tippoch, but Salma grabbed two late wickets – including Chantham’s – to seal Bangladesh’s win, and a place at the World Cup.
Bangladesh had a rough time with the bat, too, losing three wickets for 29 runs in a middle-overs mini-collapse as the Thailand bowlers kept chipping away. Their top three got off to stable starts, but couldn’t get off the blocks, and Bangladesh were restricted to just 81 after 17 overs. However, Rumana Ahmed and Ritu Moni bashed 32 off the remaining three overs to give their side some late impetus, which proved crucial in the end. Rumana hit an unbeaten 28 off 24 deliveries, and Moni cracked 17 from ten balls.
It was a tight affair in the first semi-final, as Ireland rode on a combined batting effort to put up a competitive 137 for 6, but then Zimbabwe gave the target a spirited chase, before stopping just four runs short.