Two years ago in the Netherlands Bangladesh qualified for the 2018 T20 World Cup in West Indies as winners of the global qualifier. They qualified alongside Ireland for the main event, with the Lady Cricket Cranes of Uganda making their debut at the showpiece as the representative for Africa.

This year Africa has a new representative in Namibia who will also be getting their first taste of ICC competition out of Africa. USA will also be in their first women’s T20 global qualifier.

Namibia’s path to Scotland has been a somewhat fortuitous one after Zimbabwe was dumped out of the tournament due to the ICC sanctions imposed on them, but fortune sometimes favours the prepared, and the Namibian women have shown a lot of improvement since they lost all but one match of the regional qualifier they hosted in 2017. A very different Namibia side arrived in Zimbabwe this year at the African qualifiers, as they ran over group favourites Uganda and also eased past Kenya to meet hosts Zimbabwe in the final.

Namibia was more aware of their strengths, they fielded in close and their bowlers were very disciplined with their lines. Irene Van Zly and Kayleen Green were the standout bowlers while Captain Yasmeen Khan led from the front with the bat.

Bangladesh is a clear favourite to fill one of the two spots on offer for the main event in Australia next year. On the other hand, Zimbabwe’s forced withdrawal has really opened up the competition for that second berth among the remaining seven nations, one which Zimbabwe would have been fancied to fulfil. Ireland was the other team to qualify from the Netherlands two years ago but that team lost most of the experience it had, as around half the side retired just after the World Cup, which has left the side lacking a lot of experience.

The emerging force in women’s cricket is Thailand; they have been on a winning run – just completing a world record for consecutive T20I wins with their 17th victory coming up during the quadrangular series in Scotland – and their early arrival in Europe should ensure the South East Asian side is acclimatised to the conditions.

Away from Bangladesh in Group B, Thailand’s goal will be to finish top in their pool which also includes Ireland, Namibia and the Netherlands, which would mean they play against the second-placed side in Group A of Bangladesh, PNG, Scotland and the USA in the cross-over semi-finals, the matches that ultimately determine the two teams that will proceed to the T20 World Cup.

Hosts Scotland will be hoping that home conditions can do them some favours as they search for a maiden world cup appearance and another key performance requirement in their quest for ICC Full membership. They will be heartened by their recent performances, collecting wins against the fancied Thai team (which ended their world record streak at 17 victories) and sharing the spoils with Ireland in their two games against their Celtic rivals.

ICC has announced that 10 of the 15 matches (all tournament games at Forfarshire Cricket Club including the two semi-finals and the final) will be live-streamed, building on the rising interest in ladies’ cricket after the hugely successful 2017 Women’s World Cup in England. This follows the recent positive change in attitude to streaming of ICC qualification events, the global body responding to long-standing demands from fans wanting to be able to watch the emerging game, especially in competitions such as these where the stakes are so high.

The tournament will run from August 31st to Sept 7th in Scotland.

Tournament Schedule

31 August:
Bangladesh v PNG* (Forfarshire Cricket Club, 10h00); Eloise Sheridan and Sue Redfern (on-field umpires), Kim Cotton (reserve umpire).
Thailand v Netherlands (Arbroath Sports Club, 10h00); Lauren Agenbach and Claire Polosak (on-field umpires), Jacqueline Williams (reserve umpire)
Scotland v USA* (Forfarshire Cricket Club, 14h00); Sue Redfern and Kim Cotton (on-field umpires), Eloise Sheridan (reserve umpire)
Namibia v Ireland (Arbroath Sports Club 14h00); Claire Polosak and Jacqueline Williams (on-field umpires), Lauren Agenbach (reserve umpire)

1 September:
Thailand v Namibia* (Forfarshire Cricket Club, 10h00) Eloise Sheridan and Claire Polosak (on-field umpires), Jacqueline Williams (reserve umpire)
Scotland v PNG (Arbroath Sports Club, 10h00) Lauren Agenbach and Kim Cotton (on-field umpires), Sue Redfern (reserve umpire)
Ireland v Netherlands* (Forfarshire Cricket Club, 14h00) Jacqueline Williams and Eloise Sheridan (on-field umpires), Claire Polosak (reserve umpire)
USA v Bangladesh (Arbroath Sports Club 14h00) Sue Redfern and Lauren Agenbach (on-field umpires), Kim Cotton (reserve umpire)

3 September:
Ireland v Thailand* (Forfarshire Cricket Club, 10h00) Jacqueline Williams and Sue Redfern (on-field umpires), Eloise Sheridan (reserve umpire)
Netherlands v Namibia (Arbroath Sports Club, 10h00) Kim Cotton and Lauren Agenbach (on-field umpires), Claire Polosak (reserve umpire)
Scotland v Bangladesh* (Forfarshire Cricket Club, 14h00) Eloise Sheridan and Jacqueline Williams (on-field umpires), Sue Redfern (reserve umpire)
PNG v USA (Arbroath Sports Club 14h00) Lauren Agenbach and Claire Polosak (on-field umpires) Kim Cotton (reserve umpire)

*live-streamed matches

Appointments and scedules for the 5 and 7 September play-offs will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile, the ICC has also confirmed the eight squads, which will take part in the tournament.

GROUP A

BANGLADESH – Salma Khatun (captain); Jahanara AlamFargana Hoque PinkySobhana MostaryKhadiza-Tul KubraFahima KhatunNigar Sultana JotyMurshida KhatunNahida Akter; Sanjida IslamMst. Ritu MoniAyasha RahmanShaila SharminShamima Sultana

PNG – Kaia Arua (captain); Ravini Oa; Tanya Ruma; Brenda Tau; Vicky Ara’a; Natasha Ambo; Gari Buruka; Veru Kila Frank; Nerela Ila; Sibona Jimmy; Konio Oala; Mairi Tom; Isabel Toua; Naoani Vare

SCOTLAND – Kathryn Bryce (captain); Sarah BryceAbbi Aitken-DrummondPriyanaz Chatterji; Katherine FraserBecky GlenRachel HawkinsLorna JackAbtaha MaqsoodMegan McColl; Katie McGillHannah RaineyEllen Watson, Ruth Willis

USA – Sindhu Sriharsha (captain); Shebani BhaskarClaudine BeckfordSara FarooqNadia GrunyUzma IftikharSugetha Kalyanaraman ChandhrasekarMahika KandanalaGeetika Kodali; Samantha RamautarLisa RamjitAkshatha RaoErica RendlerOnika Wallerson

GROUP B

IRELAND – Laura Delany (captain); Kim Garth; Shauna Kavanagh; Gaby Lewis; Leah Paul; Louise Little; Sophie MacMahon; Lara Maritz; Orla Prendergast; Celeste Raack; Una Raymond-Hoey; Eimear Richardson; Rebecca Stokell; Mary Waldron   

NAMIBIA – Yasmeen Khan (captain); Irene Van Zyl; Arrasta Diergaardt; Didi Foerster; Merczerly Gorases; Kayleen Green; Victoria Hamunyela; Eveleen Kejarukua; Reehana Khan; Wilka Mwatile; Sylvia Shihepo; Adri van Der Merwe; Sune Wittmann; Petro Enright

NETHERLANDS – Juliet Post (captain); Leonie Bennett, Denise van Deventer; Sterre Kalis; Hannah Landheer; Caroline de Lange; Babette de Leede; Eva Lynch; Frederique Overdijk; Robine Rijke; Heather Siegers; Silver Siegers; Miranda Veringmeier; Iris Zwilling

THAILAND – Sornnarin Tippoch (captain); Nattaya Boochatham; Wongpaka Liengprasert; Phannita Maya; Ratanaporn Padunglerd; Onnicha Kamchomphu; Naruemol Chaiwai; Chanida Suttiruang; Nannapat  Khoncharoenkrai; Soraya Lateh; Rosenanee Kanoh; Arriya Yenyueak; Suleeporn Laomi; Natthakan Chantham

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