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Rachel, our Queen of Scots
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Rachel, our Queen of Scots

Rachel Slater is heading to the T20 World Cup in Bangladesh in October, and the Northern Diamonds bowler has admitted: “It’s quite mental, and I can’t quite believe it.”

Slater has just returned from a month in Abu Dhabi, where she helped Scotland reach the final of the ICC’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifiers event.

The left-armer was the bowler of the entire tournament, finishing with 11 wickets in six matches, including notable hauls of 5-17, 3-32 and 2-35.

No other bowler in the event matched the 22-year-old’s return. Her five-for recorded an opening day win against Uganda before her three wickets came in the all-important semi-final win over Ireland which qualified the Scots for Bangladesh.

Fellow Diamond Katherine Fraser also played all six matches for Scotland, contributing two wickets with her off-spinners.

As for Slater, she added two wickets in the final of the event, a defeat to Sri Lanka. But actually the most important match was against the Irish, with the two finalists qualifying.

Rachel Slater

Photo by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Rachel Slater celebrates a wicket during the ICC T20 WC Global Qualifiers semi-final against Ireland last weekend.

“I would definitely say the semi-final against Ireland was the best day of my career so far and it was a really good month too,” said the Leeds-raised bowler with a Scottish mother.

“It was amazing. To be honest, I’m still pretty speechless about what we’ve accomplished.

“I’m so grateful to have been a part of it. I had so much fun. Every time I think about it I just start laughing.”

Speaking about the match against Ireland, which Scotland won by eight wickets chasing 111, she continued: “It was huge to do it against Ireland. They were the team that finished our tournament last time (2022).

“It was incredible to have family there.

“I want to be the player who takes big wickets, but I didn’t start well.

Katherine Fraser

Photo by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Northern Diamonds off-spinner Katherine Fraser (l) is World Cup bound. Here we celebrate with Sunrisers teammate Abtaha Maqsood.

“My first over with the new ball was for 11. But the next ball after that I helped clear (Orla) Prendergast, and that was one of my favorite personal moments of the month. Being able to park what just happened my first time is something I’m proud of: just staying in the game.

“Whether you bowled, batted or fielded poorly, it’s all about trying do the following right. To contribute there and then to take three wickets in the last over to help us qualify, it was a great day.

As for finishing as the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, Slater continued: “I actually didn’t know until I was told.

“It’s not something I pay much attention to, to be honest. I just concentrate on my work for the team. But it was very nice to hear that.”

Slater’s performance was all the more impressive considering the amount of cricket she had played in the run-up to her trip to Abu Dhabi, which started in early April and continued until Tuesday.

During the 2023 calendar year, she made just eight appearances for club and country, largely due to injury and a well-documented battle with ADHD.

Rachel Slater

Photo by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Eleven-wicket star Rachel Slater bowls in Abu Dhabi.

“I haven’t played much cricket this past year,” she said. “Even in the games I played for Scotland before, I was a bit short of wickets and got a bit frustrated as a result.

“So it was nice to consistently put in some performances and do what I know I’m capable of and take big wickets in the powerplay and at the death.

“It was quite handy that we went out a few weeks early and played two ODIs and three T20s before the tournament. I played four or five games in the run-up and felt good.

“But to do it when the pressure is on and you have to win almost every game was really fun. It has given me a lot of confidence to come back here

“Hopefully I can now play in the T20s with the Diamonds and continue this form.”

Slater’s 5-17 against Uganda was her first senior five-wicket haul for any team, including Yorkshire Women and the Diamonds.

Rachel Slater

Photo by Francois Nel. ICC via Getty Images. Rachel Slater was named player of the match after her five wickets in the tournament opener against Uganda last month.

She had previously taken three five-wicket hauls and one six-for for her home country’s age group teams from Under 13 to Under 17.

“I also scored a hat-trick at one point,” she reflected. “But I didn’t really think: ‘I can get a five for this.’

“To have the first match of the tournament go so well and smoothly – to have a match where everything went the way I wanted – was really good. It set the tone.

“Even though I had a few matches where things didn’t go so well, it initially made me think: ‘I know what I can do, I’ve already done it’. It was really helpful.”

Scotland take their place in a 10-team World Cup and are in Group B alongside hosts Bangladesh, England, South Africa and the West Indies.

There is clearly one fixture that stands out!

Hollie Armitage

Photo by Evan Barnes/Getty Images. Rachel Slater could face her regional captain Hollie Armitage at October’s World Cup.

“Scotland vs England will be a huge game (October 14, Dhaka),” Slater added.

“I think I read somewhere that this hasn’t happened in women’s cricket since 2001. Hopefully Bess (Heath) will then be involved in England, and so will Hollie (Armitage). That would be really cool and a great experience.

“This is definitely the one we said we were looking forward to the most. But every match at a World Cup will be great.

“I definitely think there are some games we can win. It’s all very exciting and we can’t wait to get there.

“But my main priority right now is Diamonds and having a good summer with them. It was fun to celebrate that achievement, but once I get back to the Diamonds, that will be in the back of my mind.

“I want to help the Diamonds win a few trophies, earn a Hundred contract and concentrate on my cricket here for the time being.”

Rachel Slater

Photo by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com. Rachel Slater is now targeting success with the Northern Diamonds in 2024.