Thailand batters at Women's T20WC Qualifier
Women's T20 World Cup

Last two spots at Women’s T20WC up for grabs in decisive playoffs

Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier

By Martin Pegan

Hit For Six!
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The two remaining spots at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 will be decided in the all-important Qualifier semi-finals on Friday.

Women’s T20 World Cup places are on the line as Zimbabwe take on Ireland, and Bangladesh face Thailand, with the winner of each T20I booking a ticket to South Africa next year.

Read on to find out how each team earned a shot at a Women’s T20 World Cup spot and the key players in both Qualifier semi-finals.

Watch the decisive Women’s T20WC Qualifier semi-finals live and for FREE on ICC.tv, with highlights of every match also available.

Matches are available on FanCode in some countries.

Zimbabwe v Ireland

Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi 
Friday 23 September
15:00 local time (11:00 UTC)

Zimbabwe made a fast start to the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier with commanding victories over Papua New Guinea (8 wickets) and Thailand (6 wickets).

But with a semi-final place already assured, they were less impressive in their third T20I of the group stage as the UAE won their only match of the tournament with a boundary off the last ball. 

>> Watch Zimbabwe v Thailand Highlights for FREE on ICC.tv

Ireland started the Qualifier with what now looks like a reasonable 14-run loss to Bangladesh which went on to cruise through the group stage undefeated.

A convincing 9-wicket thumping of the USA put Ireland’s campaign back on track, but it took a rousing 19-run win over Scotland in the last group match to decide which of those teams would progress.

Women's T20 World Cup

Watch Highlights of the Women's T20 World Cup Qualifier - FREE on ICC.tv

Players to watch

Zimbabwe: Kelis Ndlovu

The 16-year-old sensation has lit up the Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier to claim the second-most wickets in the tournament so far with six.

The left-arm spinner was at her best with 3/18 in the opener against Papua New Guinea, and has taken wickets in each match while restricting the opposition to only 4.5 runs an over.

This star on the rise also opens the batting for Zimbabwe, and is averaging 39.5 runs in the Qualifier following a 46 against Thailand and 25* against PNG. 

>> Watch Ireland v Scotland Highlights for FREE on ICC.tv

Ireland: Gaby Lewis

The ICC 100% Cricket superstar can turn it on when it matters most, as proven with a blistering 66 off 37 balls when opening against Scotland in the T20I that decided which team would play off in the semi-final.

The 21-year-old carried her bat when making a steady 44* as Ireland chased down the USA’s total of 91 for the loss of one wicket, while her importance to the team was revealed when Lewis was bowled first ball against Bangladesh as they fell 14 runs short without her usual contribution.

Bangladesh v Thailand

Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi 
Friday 23 September
19:00 local time (15:00 UTC)

The undefeated Bangladesh were the standout team of the Qualifier group stage right from their opening T20I against Ireland. 

Bangladesh set the eventual semi-finalists an imposing total of 143/4 then picked up early wickets to hold Ireland at arms-length through the second innings.

They looked even more formidable when dismissing Scotland for 77 and chasing it down with six wickets and seven overs in hand, then smashing 158/1 against the USA to set up a 55-run demolition.

Thailand opened the Qualifier with a seven-wicket thumping of the UAE after disciplined bowling restricted their opponents to only 92/5 from their 20 overs.

The tables were turned in Thailand's second T20I of the group stage as they made 86/6 from their full 20 overs in a six-wicket loss to Zimbabwe.

Thailand then bounced back when a semi-final spot was there for the winner to claim against Papua New Guinea, defending their score of 93/8 with some clever bowling to win by 12 runs as Nattaya Boochatham led the way with 4/8 off four overs.

>> Watch Thailand v PNG Highlights for FREE on ICC.tv

Players to watch

Bangladesh: Nigar Sultana

The Bangladesh captain was the clear top scorer in the Qualifier group stage with 157 runs from three matches to put together 44 more than the next best.

Batting at first-drop, the reliable Sultana has contributed runs in every match with 67 against Ireland, 34 against Scotland then continuing that fine form with 56* against the USA.

The No.23 batter in the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s T20I Rankings, Sultana looms as the crucial wicket for Thailand’s hopes of heading to South Africa.

>> Watch Bangladesh v Ireland Highlights for FREE on ICC.tv

Thailand: Nattaya Boochatham

The leading wicket-taker of the Qualifier group stage with seven, the off-spinner opens the bowling for Thailand and has proven she can both strike early and restrict the flow of runs.

Boochatham all but booked Thailand’s place in the semi-final with 4/8 off four overs in the final group match as they defended a lowly total of 93 against Papua New Guinea with only the winner to keep their qualification hopes alive.

The 35-year-old veteran also helped set up the win against the UAE with 2/7 which included a crucial wicket in the first over of the innings, but lowered her colours against Zimbabwe with 1/31.

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