Thailand's women cricketers who are ranked 12th in the world after winning 17 consecutive T20 Internationals, are now less than seven days away from completing a remarkable journey by qualifying for the next ICC Women's T20 World Cup that will be held in Australia early next year. Eight teams are competing in a qualifying competition being held in Scotland between 31st August and 7th September with two World Cup places available for the winners of the two semi-finals.
Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and USA have been drawn in Group A, while Ireland, Thailand, Netherlands and Namibia make up Group B. All teams play three matches against the other sides in their group with the top two teams in each group reaching the semi-finals.
This is the fourth time Thailand have played in the global T20 World Cup qualifier and they have never had a better chance of reaching the semi-finals as they have recently beaten Netherlands and Ireland twice and Namibia are a late replacement for Zimbabwe who have been barred from ICC competitions. If Thailand can win their group they are likely to face hosts Scotland, who could well finish second in Group A as Bangladesh look the strongest team in the competition as they are Asia Cup T20 champions and beat Thailand twice last week.
All teams have played one warm-up match apiece with Bangladesh, Scotland, Ireland and Thailand all victorious over lower-ranked opposition, which again suggests these are the four teams most likely to reach the semi-finals. Thailand's cricketers gained some consolation for their country's heavy defeat against USA in the football World Cup by convincingly beating the Americans by 58 runs
The competition gets underway at 10.00 am local time on Saturday 31st August with Thailand facing Netherlands at Arbroath on the first morning. All matches played at the ground in Dundee will be live streamed on the ICC website which means supporters of Thailand cricket watch their second and third matches against Namibia and Ireland as well as potential semi-final and final contests.
It could be compelling watching as Thailand women embark on the most exciting week in their cricket history,