London, Sep 6 (IANS) 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 the first semi-final, Bangladesh knocked out Ireland in a low-scoring thriller at Forthill as they chased down the 86-run target with four-wickets in hand and guarantee their place at the 10-team tournament that begins on February 21, 2020 in Sydney.
Winning the toss and opting to bat first, 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.
A disciplined performance in the field saw only one extra given away as each bowler made a contribution -- Fahima Khatun the standout with 3/18 -- to ensure Ireland never recovered from their earlier woes.
Chasing 86 for qualification, Forthill enjoyed a very thrilling game as Bangladesh looked as though 86 might have been too much for their experienced outfit at the halfway point.
Reduced to 34/4 after 10 overs, Ireland would have fancied their chances. However, Bangladesh went unblemished until the 17th over when Leah Paul (0/15) combining with Kavanagh to run out Ritu Moni for 15 but it was too late, Bangladesh then requiring 15 runs from 18 deliveries.
However, back to back fours from Sanjida Islam (35*) in the 18th over, all but secured the victory as Bangladesh went into the penultimate over requiring just six runs. A four off the first ball from Jahanara Alam (6*) followed by two singles took Bangladesh to victory and a spot at the Women's T20 World Cup.
In the other semi-final, Thailand qualified for their first ever major event with a commanding eight-wicket win over Papua New Guinea (PNG) in Dundee to join Bangladesh on the plane to Australia.
PNG could only accumulate 67 runs as they won the toss and opted to bat first in attempt at putting runs on the board on a slow wicket at Forthill.
Chasing 68, Thailand opted for a calm and controlled approach as openers Chantam (18 off 31) and Chaiwai (32 off 40) took their time to pick off the runs required, striking just five boundaries in their innings to set the team up for a match-winning and World Cup-promising pursuit.
With both openers dismissed by the end of the 16th over, Koncharoenkai (16*) and Boochatham (2*) finished off the job to take an 8-wicket victory for Thailand and guarantee their place at the next year's tournament.
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.
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