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Skipper Kathryn Bryce leads Scotland to history-making Women’s T20 World Cup qualification

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Abu Dhabi: Captain Kathryn Bryce came up with a dominant, all-round performance to help Scotland knock out semifinal favourites, Ireland, in the first semifinal of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier at Zayed Cricket Stadium here on Sunday.

Their comprehensive, eight-wicket win was spearheaded by an inspirational performance by captain, Kathryn Bryce (4-8), earning them their first-ever ticket to the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh from October 3-20 this year.

Ireland won the toss and elected to bat first, but the decision backfired as Bryce produced a sensational performance with the ball in the Powerplay overs.

The Scotland skipper sent back the dangerous opening pair of Amy Hunter and Gaby Lewis in the very first over to peg Ireland back. Hunter was castled by an inswinger off the second ball of the game and Lewis hit a pull shot straight to short mid-wicket off the fifth ball of the over.

Their woes were compounded when Orla Prendergast was run out in the third over for 11. Bryce struck another blow in her third over, bowling Laura Delany for two as Ireland slipped to 21/4.

Completing her fourth over on the trot, Bryce struck with another wicket, that of Eimear Richardson, who skied a big shot to be dismissed for just one. Scotland were right on top in the big game, with the Ireland scorecard reading 25/5, but Arlene Kelly and Leah Paul resurrected the innings in the second half.

Abtaha Maqsood’s clever ploy to bowl one down the leg-side saw the back of Rebecca Stokell, stumped by the wicketkeeper, in the 11th over, but Paul and Kelly rebuilt with purpose for Ireland.

The duo stitched together a vital, 60-run partnership that was only broken in the final over of the innings. Ireland reached a respectable 110/9 at the end of their 20 overs with Paul (45) and Kelly (35) the crucial contributors.

Despite the strong bowling performance, Scotland needed to keep Ireland’s bowling attack at bay to secure their place in Bangladesh.

Megan McColl began with a bang for Scotland in the run-chase, racing to 25 from 23 balls in the Powerplay. Scotland were firmly in the driving seat, without loss for 41 runs in the first six overs.

McColl unfurled a flurry of impressive shots, including a brilliant scoop, as Scotland raced towards the target. Kelly found a wicket for Ireland when Saskia Horley’s attempted scoop went wrong, the inside edge saw the ball crash onto the stumps.

Bryce stepped in at number three, joining McColl and the duo continued their charge against Ireland’s bowling with frequent boundaries. McColl completed a terrific fifty off 46 balls in the 15th over as Scotland edged closer to the target. Kelly, though, cleaned her up off the very next ball when she missed a heave towards the leg side.

The Bryce sisters, though, carried their team home and to the main event in Bangladesh without further hiccups. Kathryn Bryce fittingly, hit the winning runs as Scotland celebrated a massive triumph.

They will be joined by the winners of the second semifinal clash between Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates.

Ireland 110/9 in 20 overs (Leah Paul 45, Arlene Kelly 35; Kathryn Bryce 4-8, Rachel Slater 3-32) lost to Scotland 112/2 in 16.2 overs (Megan McColl 50, Kathryn Bryce 35 not out; Arlene Kelly 2-28) by eight wickets.

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