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Semi-final victories in the Qualifier in Abu Dhabi help book the remaining two berths in the 10-team tournament to be played in South Africa in February

Khel Today Bureau 
New Delhi: Bangladesh and Ireland have qualified for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2023 in South Africa after winning their respective semi-finals at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2022 supported by Dream 11, being played in Abu Dhabi.

Bangladesh completed a 11-run win over Thailand and Ireland beat Zimbabwe by four runs in matches played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Friday to book their berths, joining Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, who have already made it to the 10-team tournament.

Bangladesh captain Nigar Sultana Joty said: “We came here to qualify for the T20 World Cup, and we did it! We have been playing together for so many years, this is our time to show the world how good we are, how much we have improved as a side.

“There are a lot of experienced and talented players in our side, and we need to show the kind of potential we have. It was a little disappointing that we could not do well in batting today. But I was confident about my bowling side, and I am happy at the way we handled the pressure.”

Ireland captain Laura Delany said: “It (qualification) is massively important for the growth of the game in Ireland. We feel fortunate that Cricket Ireland have introduced full-time contracts and I think we are starting to see the benefit of that.

“It is a lot of relief that we won. They run us till the last ball, it was a very competitive game. We are thrilled to be there. We have tried to veer off from focusing on the World Cup. We weren’t successful last time so wanted to do things differently. We are proud to have got over the line today.

“We had a very good season, some brilliant wins against some tough sides. Qualifying for the World Cup is the next step in the journey, we will get to play against some better sides, hopefully on a more regular basis.”

Papua New Guinea (PNG), Scotland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United States of America (USA) were the other teams to compete in the eight-team tournament.

Bangladesh and Thailand took the two spots reserved in this tournament for the last-two placed teams from the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020, while the remaining teams came through the Regional Qualifiers.

Scotland (Europe), UAE (Asia), USA (America) and Zimbabwe (Africa) won their regional competitions while PNG qualified as the highest ranked side from East Asia Pacific (as of 30 November 2021), which could not hold a competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ireland qualified as the highest ranked side from the regional competitions not to qualify.

The final will be played at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Sunday.

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