Sep 25, 2022 Sports
(Cricinfo) – 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.
“We have been playing together for so many years, this is our time to show the world how good we are, how much we have improved as a side,” Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana said after the win. “There are a lot of experienced and talented players in our side, and we need to show the kind of potential we have.”
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.
Ireland, asked to bat first, had Orla Prendergast top-scoring with 28 at just better than a run-a-ball, while Rebecca Stokell provided the finishing touches with an aggressive 26 not out from No. 6. Stokell’s 12-ball innings, with a four and two sixes, ensured Ireland piled up 41 runs in the last four overs.
They had gotten off to a quiet start as captain Laura Delany managed just 22 from 29 balls, with Nomvelo Sibanda keeping a check on the opposition up top. Sibanda got 2 for 24 from four overs, while Kelis Ndlovu, though expensive, also bagged two wickets.Like Ireland, Zimbabwe took their time to get going with the bat. The first five overs produced only 20 runs, as 19-year-old Jane Maguire struck twice to remove Ndlovu and Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano. That is when Sharne Mayers and captain Mary-Anne Musonda got down to add 50, before Arlene Kelly bowled the former after she had scored 39 from 36 deliveries.
When Cara Murray had Musonda stumped for 31. Zimbabwe required another 39 off 29 balls with six wickets in hand, but they fell short despite quick cameos from Modester Mupachikwa and Josephine Nkomo.
“It is a lot of relief that we won. They ran us till the last ball; it was a very competitive game,” Delany said. “We weren’t successful last time so wanted to do things differently. We had a very good season – some brilliant wins against some tough sides. Qualifying for the World Cup is the next step in the journey. We will get to play against some better sides hopefully on a more regular basis.”
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