Zimbabwe take on Ireland, while Bangladesh take on Thailand here in the decisive Qualifier semi-finals here later on Friday, with the winner of each T20I booking a ticket to South Africa next year for the T20 Women’s World Cup.
Zimbabwe, who will play Ireland at Zayed Cricket Stadium, got off to a good start in the T20 Women’s World Cup Qualifier with wins over Papua New Guinea (by eight wickets) and Thailand (sic wickets), according to ICC. But with a place in the semi-final assured, they were less impressive in their third T20I in the group stage, losing to the United Arab Emirates on the last ball.
Ireland began their qualification with a 14-run loss to Bangladesh, who went through the group stage unbeaten. A nine-wicket slam from the US put Ireland’s campaign back on track, but it took a 19-run victory over Scotland in the final group match to decide which of those teams would advance.
Zimbabwean 16-year-old sensation Kelis Ndlovu has been the team’s find in the qualifiers, having claimed the second-most wickets in the tournament so far with six. The left arm spinner was at her best at 3/18 in the opener against PNG, and has taken wickets in every match while restricting the opposition to just 4.5 runs above. She also leads the batting for Zimbabwe, and is averaging 39.5 runs in the Qualifier after 46 against Thailand and an unbeaten 25 against PNG.
Ireland’s Gaby Lewis scored 66 from 37 balls in the opening match against Scotland in the T20I that decided which team would play in the semi-final. The 21-year-old carried her bat as she made an unbeaten 44 as Ireland chased the USA’s total of 91 for the loss of a wicket.
Undefeated Bangladesh were the standout team in the qualifiers since their first game against Ireland. They set up eventual semi-finalists Ireland with a total of 143/4 and then took early wickets to keep Ireland at bay during the second inning.
They looked even more formidable, dismissing Scotland for 77 and chasing them down with six wickets and seven overs in hand, then breaking 158/1 against the US to set up a 55-run demolition. Thailand, on the other hand, opened the Qualifier with a seven-wicket victory over the United Arab Emirates after disciplined bowling restricted their opponents to just 92/5 from their 20 overs. The tables were turned in Thailand’s second T20I of the group stage as they made 86/6 of their 20 completed overs in a six-wicket loss to Zimbabwe, according to ICC.
Thailand then bounced back when there was a place in the semi-final for the winner to claim against Papua New Guinea, defending their 93/8 score with some clever bowling to win by 12 runs as Nattaya Boochatham led the way with 4/8 in four. overs.
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