Jubilant Thailand beat PNG by 8 wickets to reach the finals in Australia.
A jubilant Thailand squad rush to celebrate after the winning runs were scored against Papua New Guinea.

Thailand have continued their remarkable year in T20s by booking themselves a place in the 2020 Women’s T20 World Cup in Australia, their first qualification and the nation’s first appearance at a global ICC tournament in either men’s or women’s cricket. A win in the semi-final against Papua New Guinea on Thursday guaranteed them a place in the tournament after Bangladesh defeated Ireland to claim theirs earlier in the day.

On a surface that has been slow and showing consistent turn at Broughty Ferry, Papua New Guinea struggled to put away Thailand’s spinners, finishing with 67 from their 20 overs with 7 wickets down. Although occasional loose balls came, the spinners consistently landed a nagging length that was difficult to score aggressively against, and many of the wickets came from attacking strokes to straight balls after periods of pressure. Suleeporn Laomi was the stand out bowler with only five runs from her allotted overs, but no Thai bowler conceded above five runs per over as they applied an excellent squeeze.

Though they took their time to reach the required runs, Thailand never looked in doubt of coasting home. Batting time and not being overly aggressive, the Thai top order played elegantly and waited for poor balls, which started to flow as the Papua New Guinea bowlers struggled to maintain the same consistency. Nattakan Chantam was eventually bowled through the legs, but only once the score had reached 31 and partner Naruemol Chaiwai was well settled at the other end. Batting fluidly and with three boundaries to her name, Chaiwai was the only batter of the day that seemed to play the pitch well, at least before she spooned a simple catch to mid-on with only four left to win.

Earlier in the day, Bangladesh completed a similar chase against Ireland, albeit with much more resistance from the Irish bowlers, in particular 17-year-old Orla Prendergast. After posting 85, propped up by a counter attacking partnership between skipper Laura Delany and veteran Eimear Richardson, who clubbed several aggressive boundaries during a brisk 25 from 17 balls.

Collapses at the top and bottom of the innings however limited Ireland’s total – the top dominated by some poor shots against disciplined bowling; the tail by some calamitous running and needless charging of spinners. Bangladesh were far from clinical in the field, with a simple dropped catch and several misfields, but the disorganisation and overly ambitious running from Ireland offered run out chances, three in total with one very near miss, that Bangladesh took with minimal effort. Fahima Khatun finished with figures of 3/18, with the wickets of Delany and Maritz coming from pre-meditated charges to good length balls.

Bangladesh’s chase started steadily, and seemed to imply Ireland hadn’t got enough on the board, with only one half-chance from a leading edge in a partnership of 21. But once the breakthrough came, Murshida Khatun spooning one to mid-off, Ireland applied an excellent squeeze and Bangladesh found themselves four down within less than two overs. The best of which being an excellent flying grab from Mary Waldron behind the stumps to dismiss Fargana Hoque for 2.

But the game was slowly wrenched away from Ireland by a 38-run stand from Sanjida Islam and Ritu Moni. Ireland’s strong fielding caused the pair to avoid aggression, but they played patiently and chancelessly, finding the boundary on three occasions as they waited for the poor balls. The partnership was finally broken with another good piece of fielding, as an ambitious second from a cover drive saw Moni run out at the non-striker’s end. Fahima Khatun came to the crease with 15 needed from 18, a potentially challenging situation on a tricky pitch. But after a gift down legside from Leah Paul next ball turned for three, Sanjida took the game into her own hands and finished the four-wicket win with some rare aggression, herself ending 33 not out. Orla Prendergast led the early collapse with figures of 2/11, with Sophie MacMahon and Kim Garth providing economical support, but wickets were Ireland’s best route to victory and the Bangladeshi batters did enough to prevent too many from falling.

Bangladesh win by 4 wickets to qualify for the T20 World Cup
Bangladesh celebrate qualifying for their fourth T20 World Cup

The four sides will meet again at the same ground on Saturday – Ireland and Papua New Guinea to compete for 3rd place in the morning, and Thailand and Bangladesh for the trophy in the afternoon.

In the crossover matches between the 3rd and 4th placed groups sides there were comprehensive victories for both the Netherlands and Scotland who beat USA and Namibia by 9 and 10 wickets, respectively.

Scores in brief:

Bangladesh beat Ireland by 4 wickets at Forthill Sports Club

Ireland 85/10, 20 overs (EAJ Richardson 25, L Delany 25; F Khatun 3/18)
Bangladesh 86/6, 20 overs (S Islam 32, R Moni 15; O Prendergast 2/11)

Thailand beat PNG by 8 wickets at Forthill Sports Club

PNG 67/7, 20 overs (K Arua 16*, S Jimmy 13; C Sutthiruang 2/15)
Thailand 68/2, 17.3 overs (N Chaiwai 32, N Chantam 18; R Oa 1/7)

Netherlands beat USA by 9 wickets at Arbroath Sports Club

USA 90/4, 20 overs (NT Gruny 53*, S Sriharsha 11; SNL Siegers 2/10)
Netherlands 91/1, 17.4 overs (van Deventer 38*, SL Kalis 31; AG Rao 1/21)

Scotland beat Namibia by 10 wickets at Arbroath Cricket Club

Namibia 67/10, 17.4 overs (van Zyl 15, Y Khan 10; K Bryce 2/6)
Scotland 68/0, 8.4 overs (SJ Bryce 37*, L Jack 25*; SA Wittmann 0/7)

Fixtures for Saturday 7th September:

Arbroath Cricket Club

10:00 – USA vs. Namibia
14:00 – Scotland vs. Netherlands

Forthill Sports Club (matches live streamed)

10:00 – Ireland vs. PNG
14:00 – Bangladesh vs. Thailand

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