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Bangladesh and Ireland secure places in ICC Women’s World Twenty20 India 2016

Both teams will now join eight other teams for the main event, which will be staged alongside the men’s event from 11 March to 3 April 2016
Bangladesh captain Jahanara Alam hails side’s “confidence” in defeating Zimbabwe

Ireland’s Isobel Joyce revels in team ethic and sets sights on Saturday’s final

Bangladesh and Ireland have booked the last two coveted places in next year’s ICC Women’s World Twenty20 India 2016 when they won their respective semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier Thailand 2015, over Zimbabwe and Scotland respectively, in Bangkok on Thursday.

Bangladesh and Ireland will now join reigning champion Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies in the event proper, which will be staged alongside the men’s event from 11 March to 3 April 2016.

In the first match of the day at Thailand Cricket Ground, Bangladesh defeated Zimbabwe by 31 runs to book their place in the final of the Trophy and a place on the plane to India. Having been restricted to 89 for five wickets, thanks in large part to Fargana Hoque’s run-a-ball 43, an inspired bowling display, led by Rumana Ahmed (who took four wickets for eight) then helped the Asian side to victory as Zimbabwe were bowled out for 58.

Speaking after the first semi final, a delighted Jahanara Alam, Bangladesh Women’s captain, said: “From the beginning, we were under a little pressure. The wicket wasn't good, it was on the slower side. But Sharmin and Fargana got a very good partnership, which is why we reached 89. We had the confidence, we knew if we scored 80-plus, then we have a strong bowling and fielding side. We again proved that we are a good side. The team is very happy, there is a lot of excitement today. This is the first time we have qualified for the ICC Women's World T20. Last time, we directly played in the event, but this time we needed to qualify, so we're very happy.”

The action then turned to a showdown between European rivals Ireland and Scotland. Teenager Lucy O’Reilly put in a disciplined display and clinched two late wickets to claim figures of three for 16, with Robyn Lewis chipping in with two wickets for eight runs as Scotland reached 77 for nine, thanks in large part to Fi Urquhart’s 21. In reply, Ireland started strongly and maintained that momentum throughout with openers Clare Shillington (34) and Cecelia Joyce (36 not out) leading from the front with a first wicket partnership of 58 that helped Ireland chase down the target with nine wickets and 8.3 overs to spare.

Ahead of Saturday’s final, Ireland captain Isobel Joyce has hailed her side’s efforts in overcoming Scotland. “We're really excited and this was the aim for us since we knew the tournament was going to be in Thailand. We really want to win the tournament, but the first job is done for us.

“Cecelia (Joyce) and Shillers (Clare Shillington) know that they have licence to play their shots and they really took the wind out of Scotland's sails early on. Lucy (O'Reilly) is our number one fielder and our go-to bowler when we need to finish off the innings. She has got a lot of different balls in her armory and it's unbelievable to think that she's only 16 years old, so we'll be looking forward to seeing what she can do in India.

“It's on to Bangladesh now and we will take it one match at a time. The plan will be to focus on our game because they (Bangladesh) have very smart spinners. But we will play the balls that are bowled (to us) and do our best.”

Meanwhile, in the Shield semi-finals, Papua New Guinea clinched a one-wicket last ball victory over the Netherlands and will now face China who defeated host Thailand by five runs.

The losing sides in both the Trophy – Zimbabwe and Scotland - and the Shield – Netherlands and Thailand - will now face off in a third/fourth place play-offs.

Scores in brief:

Trophy Semi-Finals
At Thailand Cricket Ground, Bangkok
Bangladesh Women 89-5, 20 overs (Fargana Hoque 43, Sharmin Akhter 22; Josephine Nkomo 2-12)
Zimbabwe Women, 58 all out, 19.1 overs (Pellagia Mujaji 10; Rumana Ahmed 4-8)
Bangladesh Women won by 31 runs
Player of the Match: Rumana Ahmed (Bangladesh Women)

At Thailand Cricket Ground, Bangkok
Scotland Women, 77-9, 20 overs (Fi Urquhart 21; Lucy O’Reilly 3-16, Robyn Lewis 2-8)
Ireland Women, 75-4, 18.2 overs (Cecelia Joyce 36 not out, Clare Shillington 34; Kirstie Gordon 1-33)
Ireland Women won by 9 wickets
Player of the Match: Lucy O’Reilly (Ireland Women)

Shield Semi-Finals
At Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok
Netherlands Women, 105-4, 20 overs (Sterre Kalis 33; Miranda Veringmeier 25; Norma Ovasuru 1-15)
Papua New Guinea Women, 106-9, 20 overs (Pauke Siaka 31, Sibona Jimmy 21; Christine Erkelens 3-9)
Papua New Guinea won by 1 wicket
Player of the Match:
Pauke Siaka (Papua New Guinea Women)

At Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok
China Women, 82, 20 overs (C Zhou 31; S Laomi 2-16)
Thailand Women, 77-8, 20 overs (O Kamchomphu 11; L Yingying 2-3, F Song 1-13)
China won by 5 runs
Player of the Match:
L Yingying (China Women)

Saturday’s fixtures:
1000-1245: 3/4 Trophy P-Off - Zimbabwe v Scotland, TCG                                           
1000-1245: 3/4 Shield P-Off - Netherlands v Thailand, AIT                                
1345-1630: Trophy Final - Bangladesh v Ireland, TCG                                
1345-1630: Shield Final - Papua New Guinea v China, AIT                                           

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