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Scotland book maiden Women’s World Cup berth; Sri Lanka qualify too after surviving UAE scare

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Image Source : ICC X Sri Lanka and Scotland won their respective semi-finals in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup qualifiers in Abu Dhabi

It was a historic walk in the park for Scotland. At the same time, a full-member team Sri Lanka nearly came out of jail against another spirited outfit as the two qualifiers were confirmed for the upcoming ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2024 in Bangladesh later in October-November this year. Scotland and Sri Lanka filled up the remaining two spots in the 10-team tournament, the schedule for which was announced on Sunday, May 5. The two teams will be up against each other in the final on Tuesday, May 7 in Abu Dhabi to determine the groups they go into.

It was a shocker of a start for Ireland after choosing to bat first as they lost both their openers in the very first over itself as captain Kathryn Bryce was on the money from the outset. If that wasn’t enough, Ireland lost two more wickets in the form of Orla Prendergast and skipper Laura Delany in the powerplay with the former getting run out and Bryce picking up her third wicket. Leah Paul and Arlene Kelly lifted Ireland from ruins a bit, however, the recovery was slow and when they needed to accelerate, they lost their wickets.

Only three players reached double digits for Ireland as captain Kathryn Bryce led Scotland from the front with figures of 4/8. Ireland somehow crossed the 100 mark but had to bowl out of their skins to have any chance. 

With the scoreboard pressure not being there, the Scots could take it easy and despite going just at a run-a-ball, they weren’t worried given the required rate was in control and they had 10 wickets in hand. Arlene Kelly did get the breakthrough in the 8th over, but it was already too late. Megan McColl smashed a fifty and even though she too got out immediately after, the Bryce sisters were there at the end to see their team through.

This is the first time Scotland have qualified for any Women’s World Cup and would be eyeing the top gig beating Sri Lanka in the final. However, if not for a harakiri by the UAE batters in the end, Scotland would have been facing them in the final in place of Sri Lanka. 

Sri Lanka got to a middling total of 149 on the back of opener Vishmi Gunaratne’s 45 and rapid cameos from Kavisha Dilhari and Nilakshika Silva. UAE skipper Esha Oza seemed like on a mission to take her side to the T20 World Cup as she was phenomenal. At 104/2, needing 46 runs to win off 33 deliveries, the UAE would have backed themselves with their skipper set having already scored a fifty but it wasn’t to be.

The UAE lost their next five wickets for just 29 runs as they lost the momentum completely and the run rate kept soaring high for them to eventually fall short by 15 runs. It was a heartbreaking end for the UAE and a sigh of relief for Sri Lanka as the superstar and captain Chamari Athapaththu’s dream remained intact.

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