ACC Women’s Twenty20 2009 Day 6 - THAILAND TOP NEPAL

There were overcast muggy conditions at the Kinrara Oval at the start, nevertheless Thailand had no hesitation in choosing to bat on winning the toss. It was an important match for both sides, unbeaten in the tournament so far. A win for either would put them on top of Group A and thus make them avoid a semi-final clash with Group B’s Hong Kong, the strongest side in the tournament so far.

Both teams evenly matched, bowling deep and varied, fielding very good and possessed with batsmen of chiaroscuro flair and technique.

Thailand’s opener Pundarika Prathanmitr in particular strong on anything short, two fours off Sonu Khadka’s first over set up a battle between the two. The first ball of the over from the little left-hander was pulled powerfully past square leg, the third pulled fine. In between the ball was pitched up and the last ball of the over, pitching on middle clipped the top of off stump. Prathanmitr out for 24 off 21 balls with the score on 29 after 6 overs.

Nary Thapa bowls Thanapam Saisud

Ritu Kanoujiya demonstrated how good Nepal are in the field with a direct throw from mid-off to run-out Naruemol Chaiwai.

Thailand were 40 for 2 at the half-way stage. In other matches they’ve played Thailand’s batters have been able to take advantage of tiring attacks in the last 10 overs but Nepal aren’t like the other sides they’ve played, they’re fitter and they’re better than the rest of Group B.

Thailand’s target was 100, but Nepal weren’t making it easy for them. On a slow wicket, where the ball kept low from the Road End, the Nepali bowlers cut their pace, kept the ball up to the bat and big shots were hard for Thailand to make. After 15 overs Thailand were stagnating at 60 for 4. As were singles. Playing back and across the line to anything on a length was proving fatal.

The last over brought Thailand 9 runs and they finished on 80 for 9. Just about competitive but it would take them to be at their best to defend against a Nepal line-up that bats deep and never ever gives up.

Thailand’s young side are fighters too. The match promised to go down to the wire.

Thailand put enough pressure on the Nepali batters early on to force a run-out and didn’t bowl a single wised in the first 5 overs. Nepal were on 18-2 at that stage. Seasoned campaigner Nary Thapa in with Neera Rajopadhyay Thailand’s young bowlers, playing for no more than two years at the most, really did well, particularly young Nathakan Chantham.

Nepal were always in touching distance of the required run-rate but whenbever they tries to push that little bit harder they were forced back. Rajpadhyay fell to a well-executed to have Nepal at 26 fo2 after 7 overs.

An overthrow which went to the boundary off the last ball of the 10th over took Nepal to 42-3. Nary Thapa fell to a beauty from Thanapan Saisud which turned and bounced outside off and then next ball Neetu Thapa was bowled by one that spun on. Thailand were right back in it. Last ball of the over, another wicket the biggest of them all, Nepal’s captain Ritu Kanoujiya for 14. ‘Happy Birthday Thailand!’ came the shout from veteran Thai cricketer Parn Poshyanonda.

Sonu Khadka came in after the fall of the seventh wicket and little as she is, big shots play she does. A pull off Thanapan landed just short of the mid-wicket ropes but at the other end there were batters more fallible. Thanapan’s slow left-arm snared Sarita Maghar in the same over and Nepal were 54-8.

And then Sonu Khdka was bowled at the start of the 15th over by Nantanit Khonchan, Thailand’s bowlers getting some excellent purchase off the Kinrara surface. 27 were still wanted by the last-wicket pair. But Nepal are such fighters Thailand knew they couldn’t relax. “You have to have them on the ground and then totally beat them before they lose,” said Thailand’s coach Shan Kader.

A cool-headed dead-eye run-out by Thailand’s captain Sonnarin Tippoch gave Thailand a memorable victory by 23 runs.

The last Nepali falls

“We can beat Hong Kong,” said Thailand’s coach. “We did it at U-19 level, we can do it again. A lot of our players from then are even better and the older ones are playing well.” But first they'll have to beat a rising China in the semi-final at Kinrara on Friday.

Thanapam Saisud accepts her Player of the Match award from Match Referee Bhupinder Singh

ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship
Group A: Nepal v Thailand at The Kinrara Oval
Thailand won the toss and chose to bat
Thailand: 80 for 9 off 20 overs (P.Prathanmitr 24; N.Thapa 3-9)
Nepal: 57 all out off 15.1 overs (N.Khonchan 2-12, T.Saisud 4-8)
Player of the Match; Thanapan Saisud (Thailand)

Pictures by Peter Lim

ACC Women’s Twenty20 Championship 2009

Filed July 8th, 2009