India will face their closest rivals Pakistan in the final of the ACC Women’s Asia Cup T20 on Sunday 4th December after Pakistan defeated Thailand by five wickets at the AIT Ground on Saturday afternoon to finish second in the six-team league that has been being held in Bangkok over the last week.

Sri Lanka had earlier finished in third place after they defeated Bangladesh by seven wickets in the morning match as they surpassed Bangladesh’s solid score of 93 for 3 in 20 overs with an over to spare.

Sanjida Islam completed a consistent tournament with the bat for Bangladesh as she scored 35 from 49 balls but Chamari Atapattu powered her way to 39 from just 25 balls with 3 fours and 2 sixes to just give her side the edge.

Chamari Atapattu hits her second 6

Pakistan could only guarantee themselves a place in the Asia Cup final by beating Thailand as defeat could have put them below Sri Lanka on Net Run Rate. A historic Thailand victory over a Full Member Country was never really an option as the hosts soon began to lose wickets after choosing to bat first.

Nattakan Chantam reached 13 and Chanida Sutthiruang made 11 as each hit one boundary but a total of 51 in 18.2 overs was a disappointing effort after a run of success against lower ranked countries. The gap between Thailand and Pakistan still looked a large as Anam Amin took two wickets with the new ball and Sana Mir’s off-breaks were too much for the lower-order as she claimed 4 for 9.

There was great excitement for the Thai team when they claimed a wicket with the first ball of Pakistan’s innings as Chanida Sutthiruang dismissed Ayesha Rahman caught by Suleeporn Laomi. Suleeporn then produced a run out to give Thailand a second wicket and the young leg-spinner then took a wicket of her own as Asmavia Iqbal was caught at long-off by Nattakan Chantam for 24.

Pakistan were now 44 for 3 and Suleeporn took another wicket in her next over as Sana Mir was caught at short extra-cover to leave Pakistan at 47 for 4 and the talented leg-spinner was now causing problems as she gained her third wicket four balls later as Nida Rashid was stumped.

Thailand just didn’t have enough runs on the board for Suleeporn to do any more damage to Pakistan’s batting line up as they reached their target of 52 in 11.4 overs with five wickets down. Suleeporn Laomi had had quite a day as she was involved in all five dismissals and returned figures of 3 for 9 in 3 excellent overs.

Pakistan had clinched victory by five wickets to reach the Asia Cup final for the second time but they had come across a young Thai cricketer who had the day of her life. The next challenge for the Thailand women’s cricket team is to play in the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Sri Lanka in February where they will play in a 50-over competition for the first time and Suleeporn will surely have more overs to bowl and more wickets to take.

ACC Women's Asia Cup 2016: Day 8

Bangladesh v Sri Lanka at AIT
Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field
Bangladesh: 93 for 3 off 20 overs (S.Islam 35, S.Sharmin 25*; C.Atapattu 2-24)
Sri Lanka: 97 for 3 off 19 overs (C.Atapattu 39, Y.Mendis 24; R.Ahmed 2-7)
Player of the Match: Chamari Atapattu (Sri Lanka)

Thailand v Pakistan at AIT
Thailand won the toss and chose to bat
Thailand: 51 all out off 18.2 overs (A.Amin 2-6, S.Mir 4-9, N.Rashid 2-13)
Pakistan: 52 for 5 off 11.4 overs (A.Iqbal 24; S.Laomi 3-9)
Player of the Match: Sana Mir (Pakistan)

Pictures by Abhilasha Agrawal

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Filed December 3rd, 2016