SCOTLAND women’s cricketers can now consider themselves history-makers after they booked a place at a World Cup finals for the first time ever.

Underdogs to even make it out of their group at the T20 global qualifier in the United Arab Emirates, they defeated Thailand by six wickets to earn a berth in the semi-finals.

The task facing them at the juncture was even tougher – old enemies, Ireland, an ICC full member – but, again, Scotland dug deep in to pull off a stunning eight-wicket victory.

Their reward is a place at the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in October, the Wildcats deservedly taking their place alongside the global elite off the back of an almost blemish-free qualifying campaign.

How they fare in what is effectively now a dead rubber final – likely to be against Sri Lanka, the only team to beat them in this tournament – on Tuesday will determine which pot they end up in but both hold huge appeal.

Group A would see them facing up to Australia, India, New Zealand and Pakistan, while Group B would mean facing England, South Africa, West Indies and the hosts, plenty of spice in either half of the draw to keep the juices flowing over the next five months.  

“As a group we’ve all grown massively,” said batter Megan McColl, who weighed in with her maiden T20I half-century to help see off Ireland. “This was the first year where we came here feeling that we can do this. We all believe in each other and all back each other.

“That’s probably the biggest growth we’ve had as a team, that mindset shift, to be a team who can come out on top and not be the underdogs all the time. We focus on ourselves and not the opposition.

“It’s incredible now to think about some of the teams we’ll come up against at the World Cup. Part of me still has the adrenaline of the game running through me so it’s maybe not quite sunk in yet. But it’s crazy to think we’re going to Bangladesh. It feels amazing.”

It felt somewhat apt that the Bryce sisters were at the crease when the winning runs over Ireland were accrued. Both have flown the flag for Scottish women’s cricket for so long now, especially captain Kathryn whose 4/8 with the ball and then 35 not out with the bat saw her pick up another Player of the Match trophy.

She remains a player better known and respected outside of Scotland than she is back home – as her appearance at this year’s Women’s Premier League in India demonstrated – but there is little doubt that she is a special talent regardless of nationality.

“I think that’s up there with one of her best bowling spells,” said Sarah of her sister’s efforts with the ball. “To do that in a must-win game to get your country to a World Cup for the first time under that pressure is unbelievable. I couldn’t be prouder of her. That set the tone for the rest of the day.”

This, though, was a team effort, a fact highlighted by McColl’s 50 that sent Scotland rocketing towards the 111 target set for them by an Ireland side who, at one stage, were struggling on 25/5.

Some terrific death bowling from Rachel Slater – who took three wickets in the final over – also underlined her value after a spell away from cricket, while earlier in the tournament there were also notable contributions from the likes of Saskia Horley, Lorna Jack, Hannah Rainey and others.

What makes this achievement all the more impressive is it comes to the background of almost two years of turbulence and turmoil as cricket in Scotland gradually starts to piece itself back together following wide-ranging accusations of racism, misogyny and gender discrimination.

Qualifying for a major global tournament should help to deliver a number of benefits, both financially and in terms of grassroots development and encouraging more girls and women to pick up a bat and ball.

“This is humungous for women’s cricket going forward,” said interim head coach, Craig Wallace. “The game has grown so much in a really short space of time. But these girls now are role models, they’re good players and good people.

“Hopefully the game in Scotland not only grows but becomes one of our biggest sports. I’m looking forward to seeing more girls and women getting involved now to help really grow the game. It’s what it deserves and it’s what these players deserve.”