Thailand are in a class of their own
Six wins help them claim ICC Asia qualifier
published : 3 Mar 2019 at 04:00
newspaper section: Sports
Thailand were dominant in the ICC Women's Asia Qualifier, defeating the UAE by 50 runs and claiming their sixth successive victory to top the seven-team league table on 12 points in Bangkok last week.
Nepal, who beat Kuwait by 30 runs in the morning match, finished second on 10 points with five wins from six matches. The UAE had to be content with third place after recording four wins in six matches for eight points.
Nepal and the UAE showed their talent in the competition but Thailand were worthy champions. They won places at the next two ICC global qualifying competitions and the Land of Smiles still has a chance to reach the two ICC Women's World Cups in T20 and 50-over formats.
In the last match, Thailand won the toss and elected to bat first. The question of the UAE getting ahead of Thailand on net run-rate had become a distant prospect with Thai captain Sornnarin Tippoch's decision.
Thailand lost the leading run-scorer of the tournament, Naruemol Chaiwai, caught behind off the bowling of Subha Ventakraman. Nattakan Chantam and Nattaya Boochatham steadied the ship, taking the score to 44 for 1 in 10 overs.
Nattaya was caught in the mid-wicket when she tried to increase the tempo of her innings. Nattakan batted fluently for her 35 off 30 balls before falling leg before wicket.
Thailand were 60 for 3 with eight overs left but wickets fell regularly as lower order players failed to figure out the bowling of their opponents.
Chanida Sutthiruang made a useful contribution of 22 before being expertly caught and bowled by Esha Oza who had started the match as the team's wicket keeper.
Thailand reached 100 in the 20th over with Sornnarin and Onnicha Kampcomphu at the crease. Onnicha celebrated it by hitting the second six of the tournament before being stumped off the last ball of the innings.
Thailand finished on 107 for eight. Subha Venkataraman was the best of the UAE bowlers.
The UAE lost their openers Chaya Mughal and Esha Oza quickly. Mughal was stumped off the bowling of Nattaya while Oza was superbly caught at long on by Onnicha off Sornnarin.
Chanida Sutthiruang took two wickets in an over to leave the UAE struggling at 20 for 4. Worse was to follow when Nattaya claimed her second wicket, rattling the stumps of Venkataraman. Sornnarin then claimed the key wicket of Chamani Seneviratne to leave the UAE in tatters at 23 for 6 at the halfway stage.
Udeni Dona raised the UAE's spirits by hitting the second six of the day but she was seventh out, bowled by Ratanaporn Padunglerd. Namita D'souza soon followed, running herself out. Humaira Tasneem was ninth out, bowled by Onnicha as Thailand closed in on an emphatic victory.
The outclassed UAE lost their final wicket through a run out, ending up at a paltry 57 in 19.2 overs. Chanida, Sornnarin and Nattaya claimed two wickets each in another show of all-round performance but it was Nattakan who was named player of the match for her methodical innings of 35.
Thailand won by 50 runs to gain their sixth win of the competition and their 14th consecutive victory in T20 Internationals. The worthy champions, who dominated all their rivals in the tournament, will take part in the next stage of qualification for ICC Women's World Cups in both T20 and 50-over competitions.
Thailand's Naruemol, who made 181 runs in six innings, was named batter of the tournament. Sornnarin Tippoch, who claimed 13 wickets, won the bowler of the tournament honours.
Nepal's Sita Rana Thapa, however, was declared the player of the tournament for her consistent performance throughout with both bat and ball.