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Thailand show their superiority over Nepal but UAE still lead the way

Women's Asia Q, Day 3, report

Thailand secured an important 57-run win over Nepal, but UAE stormed to their third successive win in the tournament, beating Malaysia by 86 runs.

The third day of the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier 2019 saw an important win for hosts Thailand over rivals Nepal as they claimed in an impressive victory by 57 runs but it is still UAE who stand at the top of the table as they posted their third win in three matches by beating Malaysia by 86 runs. China’s recent revival continued as they beat Kuwait by nine wickets after restricting them to 59 for 9.

At the start of the day it looked like the contest between Thailand and Nepal may be one of the most closely contested in the competition that is being held in Bangkok until 27th February. Only one team from the seven competing nations qualifies for the next two ICC qualifying events at T20 and 50-over levels and both these teams are ranked in the top 16 of the ICC Women's T20 International rankings.

Video cwc19 21 Feb 19
ICC Women's Asia Qualifier 2019: Kuwait v China pre-match interviews

Thailand and Nepal last met in the final of the Thailand T20 Smash held in Bangkok last month after both teams had been unbeaten in reaching the final. Thailand gave a complete team performance as they beat Nepal by 70 runs to claim the Smash title but Nepal had been impressive throughout that tournament and are a highly dangerous side. Thailand have been dominant over Nepal at this level as they have qualified for the last four ICC global qualifying competitions held over recent years. Would today’s match see Thailand preserve their proud record of success or could it be the day that Nepal would at last claim superiority against their biggest rivals.

Thailand won the toss and batted first and the hosts made a perfect start as ten runs came from the first over as openers Nattakan Chantam and Naruemol Chaiwai looked to build on their partnership of 94 against the same opposition last month. Nepal captain Rubina Chhetry came on to bowl the third over but Naruemol hit her second four.as Thailand's good start continued. Another boundary took Naruemol to 27 from her first 19 balls as Thailand were 29 after four overs. Nepal turned to spin in the fifth over and the rate slowed slightly as Thailand reached 36 at the end of the powerplay with Naruemol already on 32.

\\Thailand lost their first wicket as Naruemol was bowled by off-spinner Karuna Bhandari with the total on 37 to bring left-hander Nattaya Boochatham to the crease. A second wicket quickly followed as Nattakan Chantam was stumped off left-arm spinner Nary Thapa as Nepal continued to fight back strongly. Chanida Sutthiruang came in at number four and broke the shackles as she hit Bhandari for four with a classical cover drive. The fifty came up in the ninth over and Thailand were 54 for two after 10 overs with both spinners bowling effectively.

Off-spinner Bhandari bowled her four overs straight through for figures of one for 18 and left-arm spinner Thapa took her second wicket when Nattaya was caught at mid-on as she took two for 15. Thailand were 63 for 3 after 12 overs. Accurate spin bowling was proving effective and Nepal now had the two Magars bowling in tandem, Sita and Sarita. Singles were coming as Chanida and Wongpaka were rotating the strike and a boundary off a free hit to Chanida has given Thailand some momentum as they moved to 87 for 3 after 15 overs.

Video cwc19 21 Feb 19
ICC Women's Asia Qualifier 2019: Thailand v Nepal pre-match interviews

Chanida was taking control as she struck another powerful boundary to move onto 33 from 25 balls. She hit strongly again into the leg-side only to caught at deep mid-wicket for 35 off opening bowler Kabita Kunwar who followed with the wicket of Onnicha Kampchomphu to bring Thai captain Sornnarin Tippoch to the crease. The hundred came up at the start of the 18th over and although wickets fell in the last three overs Thailand finished on 124 for 7 with Wongpaka unbeaten on 27 from 28 balls. A complete innings from Thailand which they will most likely think is a winning total.

Nepal's pursuit of a target of 125 did not go according to plan at the start of their innings as Kajal Shreshta was bowled by Chanida Sutthiruang for 1 in the first over and Nattaya Boochatham also struck in her first over as she had Nary Thapa lbw also for 1 with both wickets falling with only two runs on the board. Thailand seem to have imposed their recent superiority over Nepal once again. The Thai girls were bowling well and they were lightening sharp in the field as Rubina Chhetri was run out by Suleeporn Laomi as Nepal lost their third wicket with the score on eight. They were 17 for 3 at the end of the powerplay, Indu Barma beginning to find her feet on 10.

Sornnarin had brought herself on to bowl the sixth over and she was now joined by leg-spinner Suleeporn Laomi who has an excellent record of success against Nepal. Thailand have a full quota of spinners as Onnicha Kampchomphu came on to bowl her off-breaks and Nepal were still rather becalmed as they reached 30 for 3 after 10 overs.

Wongpaka Liengprasert was the fifth spinner to come into the attack who was player of the match in Thailand's historic victory over Sri Lanka in the last Asia Cup. Sita Rana Magar was player of the match for Nepal against Malaysia but she and Indu Barma were struggling to play any convincing shots and there seemed every chance of another run out as they scampered the singles.

China celebrate a wicket against Kuwait
China celebrate a wicket against Kuwait

There was some respite for Nepal as a full toss from Onnicha was put away for four by Sita Magar. Ratanaporn Padunglerd became the seventh bowler used as she was introduced for an over of medium pace and Suleeporn came back for her second spell as the bowlers are being mixed up cleverly. The partnership was building steadily but Thailand were well on top with the score on 52 for 3 after 15 overs.

Nepal’s stubborn fourth-wicket partnership finally came to an end when Sita Rana Magar was caught behind off Sornnarin Tippoch for 18 from 34 balls and Indu Barma soon followed for 29 from 44 as she struck the ball hard back to the bowler Suleeporn Laomi who caught it with great ease. Thailand maintained their high standards in the field with two more run outs in the later stages of the innings as Nepal were restricted to a total of 67 for 8. Sornnarin had the best figures with 2 for 12 but it was Chanida Sutthiruang who was named player of the match for the second match in a row for her 35 from 29 balls and figures of 4-0-13-1.

Thailand were victors by 57 runs as they maintained their dominance over Nepal with their second win of the competition. They will still face some stiff opposition later in the tournament particularly from UAE who made it three wins out of three as they defeated Malaysia by 86 runs at TCG.

UAE batted first and scored 125 for 6 in their 20 overs with Chaya Mughal hitting 30 from 38 balls and Kavisha Egodage making 44 from 38 balls. Chamani Seneviratne is a dangerous player late in the innings and she struck 33 from 23 to press home UAE’s advantage against some tiring bowlers.

Malaysia had batted well in their opening match but they struggled to build on a steady start in the first six overs as they tried to chase an imposing target. The last nine wickets fell for 11 runs as only the two openers reached double figures. Chamani took 3 for 5 and Esha Oza took off her wicket-keeping gauntlets and claimed three wickets in her only over. Malaysia were dismissed for 39 in just 13 overs.

A China batter plays a shot
A China batter plays a shot

Kuwait faced China in the afternoon match at AIT hoping for better fortune than they have had in the first two matches when they found life hard in the field as Malaysia and UAE both made big scores. China would have still been celebrating their narrow victory over Hong Kong when they won by one wicket so both sides were pleased when China won the toss and chose to bat first.

Maryam Omar is Kuwait's captain and is also their leading player as she has been having a fine season in Australia. She wants to help her team to some success in their first ICC competition but Kuwait lost early wickets including that of their captain and they were struggling by the end of the powerplay as they reached 18 for 3 in six overs.

Kuwait continued to struggle as Amna Tariq was bowled by Li Haoye for nine from 26 balls as her side slipped to 30 for four at the halfway mark. China have been excellent in the field so far in this tournament making Thailand and Hong Kong work hard for their runs and it has been the same today against a much more inexperienced Kuwait side. Wickets have fallen regularly and runs have been hard to come by. Kuwait are fighting hard as they try to bat out the 20 overs as the innings was coming towards its end.

A China batter defends one into the off-side
A China batter defends one into the off-side

Kuwait batted out the overs with their last pair at the wicket to finish on 59 for 9. China bowled with great discipline as the wickets were shared between five bowlers. Liu Jie took 2 for 8, Li Haoye 2 for 10 for ten and Han Lili 2 for 12 with Siobhan Gomez being the only batter to reach double figures as she made 11. But at least Kuwait batted out the overs and set China a target of 60 at exactly three runs per over.

China had batted in cavalier fashion in their first two matches as their contest against Thailand was reduced to eight overs aside and they lost four wickets in the first five overs against Hong Kong. China had been on a losing run in international cricket but several of their leading players are back in the team and they have gained great confidence from beating Hong Kong.

Openers Zhang Chan and Zhou Caiyun batted sensibly as they shared a stand of 39 before Zhou Caiyun was caught by Isra Ishaq off the bowling of Amna Tarig for 20. Zhang Mei came to the wicket at number three and hit 14 from 7 balls with 3 fours as China raced to victory by nine wickets. Zhang Chan was unbeaten on 24 from 35 balls as her team finished on 60 for 1 in 11.3 overs. China are a side reborn with two wins out of three and could still play a big part in the result of this tournament. China join Thailand on four points in the table but both teams stand just behind UAE who have six points from their three matches.

For results, live scores and information on the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier 2019 please go to:

https://www.icc-cricket.com/t20-world-cup/womens-qualifiers/asia-fixtures

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