Bangladesh progress to Women's World Cup for first time
Bangladesh Women's cricket team has progressed to the 2022 Women's World Cup in New Zealand for the first time after the nine-team qualifying tournament in Harare was called off.
The International Cricket Council announced the postponement of the tournament on Saturday due to the introduction of travel restrictions from a number of African countries, including the hosts country Zimbabwe, following the breakout of a new COVID-19 variant in southern Africa.
Pakistan and West Indies are the other two teams to progress to the World Cup along with Bangladesh. Bangladesh beat Pakistan by three wicket and crushed the USA by 270 runs before experienced a shocking 16-run defeat to Thailand by DLS method. Still Bangladesh topped the Group B.
Play in two of the three matches scheduled for Saturday - Zimbabwe v Pakistan and USA v Thailand - started as scheduled but the third fixture of the day, between the West Indies and Sri Lanka, could not be staged as a member of the Sri Lanka team support staff tested positive for COVID-19.
ICC Head of Events Chris Tetley said: "We are incredibly disappointed to have to cancel the remainder of this event but with travel restrictions from a number of African countries being imposed at such short notice there was a serious risk that teams would be unable to return home.
"We have explored a number of options to allow us to complete the event but it isn't feasible and we will fly the teams out of Zimbabwe as soon as possible. Bangladesh, Pakistan and the West Indies will now qualify for the ICC Women's World Cup 2022 by virtue of their rankings, whilst Sri Lanka and Ireland will also join them in the next cycle of the ICC Women's Championship."
The teams who have qualified for the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup 2022 to be held in New Zealand from 4 March to 3 April are Australia, England, India, South Africa, New Zealand (hosts), Pakistan, West Indies and Bangladesh.
The number of teams in the third cycle of the ICC Women's Championship (from 2022-2025) has been increased from eight to ten, and these teams will be Australia, England, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Pakistan, West Indies, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Ireland.