The group stage of this year's qualifier for the next women's T20 World Cup concluded today with Thailand the only associate side still in contention for next year's main event.
Thailand secured their spot in the semis this evening. Batting first in a deciding game against Papua New Guinea, their top order struggled but an unbeaten 36 from number 7 Chanida Sutthiruang helped them record 93-8 from their 20 overs. Some tight bowling from Thailand, particularly Nattaya Boochatham (4-8) helped keep PNG to 81-6 as Thailand completed a 12 run win.
Zimbabwe batted first in the other Group B match against the UAE and scored 120-7 from their 20 overs. A 57 run partnership between Esha Oza and Kavisha Egodage helped them reach 61 when Oza was the second player out in the UAE reply having scored 36 from 26 balls. Egodage held firm as wickets fell around her and was unbeaten on 40 heading into the final over from which the UAE needed 14 runs.
Zimabwe's Nomvelo Sibanda then had a final over to forget. Two leg byes followed by two singles and a dot left UAE needing ten from four balls before the batters managed to run three from a wide delivery. Number eight batter Vaishnave Mahesh ran two from the penultimate ball before hitting the required four runs from the final delivery to secure a four wicket win, UAE's first win over a full member in women's cricket.
Earlier in the day was a dead rubber encounter between Bangladesh and the disappointing USA side. Bangladesh batted first and scored 158-1 from their 20 overs with Murshida Khatun (77) and Nigar Sultana (56) putting on an unbroken 148 for the second wicket. The Americans lost three cheap wickets early in their reply but batted out their overs to score 103-3 with Sindhu Sriharsha scoring an unbeaten 74 in the 55 run defeat.
With Ireland having beaten Scotland in the other Group A match, Thailand will be the only associate representative in Friday's semi-finals. They will take on Bangladesh, a team they beat in the infamously aborted ODI World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe last year. They will be hoping for more of the same in the shorter format.