The fifth day of the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier 2019 being held in Bangkok saw hosts Thailand make it four wins out of four to retain their place at the top of the table as they defeated Kuwait by nine wickets after bowling them out for 38.
Thailand moved on to eight points and were joined by UAE, who also got to eight points after they recovered against China to win by 27 runs. UAE are hoping they can beat Thailand in their last match and overtake the hosts on net run-rate. Nepal made it three wins out of four with a hard fought victory over Hong Kong in the afternoon match and they will still finish in a high position in the table if they win their last two matches.
Thailand began the day looking to extend their advantage at the top of the table but the hosts need to win all their remaining matches if they are to be certain of winning the competition and to make sure of a place at the next two ICC global qualifying competitions. With Sunday's results, UAE and Nepal have ensured that hosts Thailand cannot afford to perform below their high standards.
After choosing to bat first at AIT, Kuwait could not have got off to a worse start against Thailand. Their captain and most experienced player Maryam Omar was out lbw to the first ball of the day as Chanida Sutthiruang bowled a perfect in-swinger to the right-hander.
Priyada Murali and Amna Tariq took the score to 10 after five overs before Tariq skied to the keeper and Murali fell lbw. Siobhan Gomez struck four off a Suleeporn Laomi full toss, but was out caught next ball attempting a similar shot. Sornanarin Tippoch took two more wickets in her third over as Kuwait were 27/6 after 10 overs. Sabreen Zaki bravely tried to help her team despite still limping badly, but she could only loft the ball straight to long on.
Tippoch finished with figures of 4-1-8-4 even though she bowled three wides.
Kuwait were 37/7 after 15 overs when Laomi had a chance for a hat-trick. She had Maria Jasvi caught at cover and Marryam Ashraf caught behind by Naruemol Chaiwai next ball. No.11 then played and missed to avoid the hat-trick, as Zeefa Jilani survived the over. Laomi returned figures of 3/11.
Iqra Ishaq managed a single off the second ball of the next over only for Jilani to be bowled by Nattaya Boochatham as Kuwait were dismissed for 38 in 16.3 overs. A harsh learning exercise for Kuwait but at least none of their batters gave their wickets away and all tried to survive as long as possible.
Thailand gained a convincing nine-wicket victory over Kuwait as they reached their target in 7.2 overs, finishing on 41/1. Nattakan Chantam was the only wicket to fall as she was lbw to Tariq for 10. Chaiwai continued her excellent tournament as she reached 14 from 20 balls and Nattaya Boochatham was unbeaten on nine at the close.
Thailand have now won four matches out of four and stand at the top of the table with only two matches still to play against Malaysia and UAE.
UAE Women Vs China Women at TCG @EmiratesCricket Women 95 for 9 off 20 Overs— Cricket Thailand (@ThailandCricket) February 24, 2019
China Women 68 all out 19.5 Overs
UAE WOMEN WON BY 27 RUNS
Live Scorecard : https://t.co/0OHN4Mx9XJ pic.twitter.com/pC3Qg1783p
UAE kept up the pressure on Thailand as they defeated China by 27 runs in the other morning match at TCG. UAE now have four wins from five matches and will face Thailand in their final match knowing that victory over the hosts could still give them a chance of winning the competition. China were level on points with UAE at the start of the day and were highly confident when they won the toss and elected to bowl first.
Three wins in a row have revitalised Chinese cricket and UAE's first two wickets fell without a run on the board. Wu Juan took two wickets in two balls in the second over but the veteran Sri Lankan Chamani Seneviratne rebuilt the innings in partnership with Esha Oza (13) and Chaya Mughal (14). Seneviratne hit 32 from 37 balls and UAE looked to be in a strong position at 60/3. Spinners Han Lili and Li Haoye took two wickets apiece to check UAE's progress but a total of 95/9 was a useful one given the poor start.
China's batting is not as strong as their formidable bowling attack and they were soon 13/4 and very much on the back foot, particularly as captain Huang Zhou was dismissed for zero with Subha Ventakataraman on her way to figures of 3/2. No.3 bat Zhou Caiyun batted sensibly for 17 and Han Lili and Liu Jie extended the innings before Hurmaira Tasneem took the last two wickets. China were bowled out for 68 in 19.5 overs and UAE won by 27 runs.
The afternoon match at AIT saw Nepal take on Hong Kong. Nepal have won two out of their three matches and had a convincing victory over UAE in their last contest so they still have a chance of reaching 10 points if they win their last three matches, while Hong Kong are still looking for their first victory after losing their first three matches.
Hong Kong made a steady start as their openers Bella Poon and Yasmin Daswani took the score to 23 in seven overs before Poon was caught by Rubina Chhetry off the left-arm spin of Nary Thapa for 11. The spinner quickly worked her way through the Hong Kong batting order with Daswani out for 16 caught by Sarita Magar. 23/0 became 35/6 with Thapa claiming the best figures of the tournament with 6/8.
With her spell finished, calm returned to the Hong Kong innings as Marina Lamplough put together a sensible innings before she was bowled by Sita Rana Magar for 19 from 24 balls. No more wickets fell until Sita Rana took her second wicket from the last ball of the innings as Hong Kong finished on 62/8 with all eight wickets falling to left-arm spin.
Nepal chased a low total easily in their previous match against UAE, but they were soon under pressure. Jasmine Titmuss removed both openers with only six runs on the board and Hong Kong's spinners also bowled accurately as four wickets were down for 24 after 10 overs.
Apsari Begam steadied Nepal's nerves with a good combination of singles and boundaries as the score moved on to 49/4 with five overs left. The impressive pace bowler Titmuss returned to claim Begam's wicket for a valuable 24 from 35 balls with three fours and captain Mariko Hill took the sixth wicket with Nepal still needing four runs.
Nepal finally reached their target with 1.3 overs to spare as they finished on 63/6 in 18.3 overs to win by four wickets. The pacy Titmuss returned impressive figures of 3.3-0-11-3 but it wasn't quite enough.
Thailand face Malaysia in the morning match on Monday at TCG knowing that a convincing victory would put then within touching distance of the title. Nepal will claim a place in the top three if they beat China later in the day while Hong Kong face Kuwait at AIT knowing that the winners will gain their long-awaited first victory of the tournament.
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