What's the story?
Just two final spots were in reserve for the upcoming ICC Women's T20I World Cup and a host of nations had been participating in the ongoing qualifier tournament. We now have a final result as Bangladesh and Ireland, both termed favorites to grab the vacant positions, have successfully delivered in their endeavor.
In case you didn't know...
The ICC Women's T20I World Cup is a biennial event featuring the top nations' women cricketing teams battling out for the coveted trophy. The most recent edition of the tournament in 2016 was won by the Windies.
Bangladesh's entry into the World T20I comes immediately after their maiden Asia-Cup title-win in June 2018, where they stunned heavyweights India twice. Ireland, meanwhile, qualified after recuperating from big-margin, limited-overs series defeats against New Zealand and Bangladesh dating back to just a couple of weeks ago.
The eight-team qualifying tournament saw the likes of Bangladesh, Ireland, Scotland, and Papua New Guinea (PNG) finishing as the final-four, with one round of contests remaining to know the results.
Bangladesh battled against Scotland and Ireland fought against Papua New Guinea in the semi-final rounds. With Bangladesh and Ireland winning their respective ties, it was ensured that those two would be the last two teams among those contesting for the coveted title.
Having being put in to bat first at the toss by PNG, a wicket off the second ball of the game inspired hopes of a potential upset by the minnows but that turned out to be the sole moment where Ireland failed to dominate. In-form Gaby Lewis top-scored with 36 and orchestrated a 47-run second-wicket stand for Ireland, taking them to 113, before Lucy O'Reilly's career-best figures of 3 for 13 dismantled the hapless opponents for just 86 in 19.2 overs.
Bangladesh, in turn, finished with a 49-run victory against Scotland. Their opening pair of Shamima Sultana and Ayesha Rahman prolonged their run of form as they added 51 runs in 6.5 overs. A timely innings from middle-order batsman Nigar Sulthana who scored 31 helped them to an eventual 125 for 6.
Upon reply, Scottish opener Rachael Scholes fell prey to Bangladesh captain Salma Khatun in the fourth over and provided the Tigresses an early breakthrough. However, Sarah Bryce and sister Kathryn kept Scotland's hopes alive for a while.
Leg-spinner Fahima Khatun eventually sent Sarah back to the dugout and this triggered a collapse. The Scottish innings ended at 76 for 7, removing all possible hopes of qualification.
Bangladesh and Ireland will face each other in the finals of the qualifying tournament, and the match will validate or reverse the result of the 2015 edition of the same event, where Bangladesh finished second behind Ireland.
Soon after that, either Bangladesh or Ireland will face West Indies (in Group A) or Australia (in Group B) in the World T20 openers on November 9 and 11 respectively, depending on the result in the upcoming finals in the qualifiers'.