Grace, poise, power, and placement: Mithali Raj

India’s women have an unblemished record in the Asia Cup as they have never lost a match and won all five previous editions of the tournament. They won the T20 version of the competition in Guanghzhou, China in 2012 and are here in Bangkok to defend their title. So far so good for the mighty Indian ladies as they have now won their first four matches and have reached the final which will be played at the AIT ground on Sunday yet again.

India were facing Sri Lanka who could have proved a tough opponent as they have had a good record in the Asia Cup reaching the final in the first four competitions and they had also beaten India three times in 20-over cricket in recent years.

Smriti Mandhani got the Indian innings off to a flier

But on the day India simply overpowered their opponents by scoring 121 for 4 in 20 overs and restricting Sri Lanka to 69 for 9 to win by 52 runs. The recipe for success was simple as the supreme Mithali Raja scored 62 from 59 balls with six boundaries to guide India to a formidable total and the four pronged spin attack was to much for Sri Lanka’s batters. The two left-arm spinners had the best figures, Ekta Bisht taking 3 for 8 and Preeti Bose 3 for 14.

Day Six of the ACC Women’s Asia Cup saw Thailand face Nepal and the home side achieved a comfortable victory by eight after bowling out their opponents for 63 and lost only two wickets as they chased down their target with four overs to spare.

Thailand had won the ICC Asia competition in Hong Kong that has brought them a place in the qualifying tournament for the next ICC Women’s World Cup and Nepal had pushed them close in both matches and finished as runners up to qualify for the Asia Cup.

Both teams had lost their three matches against Full Member countries and so both were looking forward to achieving their first victory of the tournament. Nepal’s batting had looked weak as they managed a total of 111 runs in three completed innings, but after choosing to bat first their openers started well against the new ball to reach 21 in the first five overs.

Thailand's Nattakam Chantham

But once Sornnarin Tippoch turned to spin Nepal’s batting became extremely tentative and four wickets fell for just two runs as the captain herself claimed two wickets and leg-spinner Suleeporn Laomi proved almost unplayable as she started with two successive wicket maidens.

To make matters worse opening bowler Nattaya Boochatham turned to off-spin herself and took a wicket with her first ball as Nepal lost their fifth wicket with the score on 38.

Sornnarin finished with figures of 2 for 5 and Suleeporn 2 for 7, and Nepal’s innings had disintegrated from 30 for no wicket to 50 for 5 after 16 overs. Spin had done the trick and Thailand’s seam bowlers just needed to finish off the innings well.

Sainnamin Saenya, Chanida Sutthiruang and Rattanaporn Padunglerd achieved this aim by each taking a wicket and two run outs saw Nepal bowled out for 63 in 19.5 overs to give Thailand an excellent chance of their first win of the tournament.

Thailand have won the last six matches they have played against Nepal and are beginning to build up a superiority over the other countries in Asian Cricket Council’s second tier. Openers Nattkan Chantam and Sirintra Saengsakaorat were much more comfortable against today’s opponents.

Sita Magar bowled well for Nepal

The Thai girls took the singles on offer and both were able to hit the bad balls for four so it was a surprise when Nattakan hit the ball in the air to mid-wicket to fall for 24 as the first wicket fell on 46 after 12 overs.

Nattaya Boochatham is a classy left-hander who likes to take her time but she was out just three runs short of the target so it was left to the captain herself to hit the winning runs with a decisive sweep shot. Sirinta can be pleased she had seen her side home with an unbeaten 27 and was named player of the match.

Sirintra Saengsakaorat accepting the Player of the Match award from Cricket Association of Thailand Chief Executive Mohideen Kader

Thailand had won by eight wickets with four overs to spare, a comfortable victory for the hosts but there is a whole new world ahead for the team as they look forward to playing 50-over cricket against far stronger teams in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Colombo in February.

ACC Women's Asia Cup 2016: Day 6

Thailand v Nepal at AIT
Nepal won the toss and chose to bat
Nepal: 63 all out off 19.5 overs (S.Tippoch 2-5, S.Laomi 2-7)
Thailand: 65 for 2 off 16 overs (N.Chantham 24, S.Saengsakaorat 27*; Sarita Magar 2-13)
Player of the Match: Sirintra Saengsakaorat (Thailand)

India v Sri Lanka at AIT
India won the toss and chose to bat
India: 121 for 4 off 20 overs (M.Raj 62, S.Mandhana 21, V.Krishnamurthy 21)
Sri Lanka: 69 for 9 off 20 overs (D.Manodara 20; E.Bisht 3-8, P.Bose 3-14)
Player of the Match: Mithali Raj (India)

Pictures by Abhilasha Agrawal and Faisal Rasool

Tournament page

Filed December 2nd, 2016