The 2024 Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier is reaching its climax, with Ireland to face Scotland and Sri Lanka to take on UAE in two winner-takes-all clashes on Sunday, May 5.

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The two-week long event, staged in Abu Dhabi, comprises 10 teams, with two going on to play at the Women’s T20 World Cup in Bangladesh later this year. Bangladesh have qualified as hosts, while Australia, England, India, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand made the cut as the top six teams at the 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup, while Pakistan qualified by virtue of a superior ranking to Sri Lanka at the February 2023 cut-off.

In the UAE, two groups of five have been vying to join that eight, with the top two in each progressing towards two semi-finals. While the winners of those games will contest a final, with two spots up for grabs, it’s the semis that really matter.

Sri Lanka’s group, along with Scotland, also contained Thailand, Uganda and USA. Sri Lanka were pre-tournament favourites to win the event, and have justified that tag with dominant bowling displays against Thailand, Scotland and Uganda, bowling each of those sides out for 55, 94 and 87 respectively. USA pushed the Full Member side closer, getting within 18 runs of their 123-4.

The second spot in that group always looked likely to come down to a shootout between Scotland and Thailand. Scotland have never appeared at a Women’s World Cup in any format, but made the last four at both the 2015 and 2018 Women’s World Cup Qualifiers. Thailand, one of world cricket’s fastest progressing sides, stunned Ireland at the 2019 qualifier, before acquitting themselves well at the 2020 event, putting up 150-3 in 20 overs against Pakistan before rain washed out the game.

Each beat Uganda and USA to set up what was effectively a quarter-final. Scotland limited Thailand to 99-5, with an unbeaten 58-ball 63 from talismanic captain Kathryn Bryce seeing her side home.

In the other group, Full Member side Ireland, like Sri Lanka, have justified their tag as favourites to progress. They have qualified for three of the last four T20 World Cups, and cruised through Group B with four wins from four without much in the way of a scare. Below them, however, has been a bun fight for second place, with all teams looking capable of beating anyone.

Vanuatu’s moment to savour

Though eventually finishing last, Vanuatu have been the story of the competition. With a population of just 300,000, and having had to crowdfund for kit in the lead-up, they stunned Full Member Zimbabwe on the opening day, limiting the African side to 61 before easing home. Though they couldn’t add to that victory, it gave them a moment to savour.

Elsewhere, Zimbabwe beat UAE, who themselves beat Netherlands, while Netherlands beat Zimbabwe. That left Netherlands needing victory over Ireland to progress, with net run rate counting against them otherwise. They were unable to do so, and UAE sealed second place.

UAE have never qualified for the Women’s T20 World Cup, with this their first time making it to the last four of the qualifier. Sri Lanka will be heavy favourites for that game.

Ireland and Scotland, however, share a keen rivalry. The two sides shared a two-match T20I series in October 2023. Ireland will be favourites for that game, but Scotland will be hopeful of achieving the most seismic result in their women’s cricketing history.

Their game takes place first, at 11am GMT, while UAE play Sri Lanka at 330pm GMT.