Thailand maintained their dominance of the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier 2019 as they defeated UAE by 50 runs, claiming their sixth successive victory to top the seven-team league table on 12 points after the final day of action in Bangkok.
Nepal who beat Kuwait by 30 runs in the morning match finished second on 10 points with five wins from six matches and UAE had to be content with third place on eight points with four wins in six matches. Nepal and UAE had both shown off their considerable skills in this competition but Thailand were worthy champions as they won places at the next two ICC global qualifying competitions. The Land of Smiles still has a chance to reach the next two ICC Women’s World Cups in T20 and ODI formats.
Heading into the climax of the ICC Women’s Asia Qualifier 2019, all were hoping for an exciting day's cricket with plenty to play for. Hosts Thailand well placed to win the competition, knowing that victory over UAE in the afternoon match would give them a perfect record of six wins out of six. Even if they lost, they enjoyed considerable advantage on net run-rate over UAE who nevertheless still had a mathematical chance of overtaking the Thai team as they had four wins out of five.
Nepal v Kuwait
Nepal were playing Kuwait in the morning match at AIT. Also starting with four wins out of five, they knew that they would finish in second place if they won their match and UAE lost. The three leading teams could have all finished on 10 points with five wins and one defeat and the champions would be decided on net run-rate. Wins for Nepal and Thailand would make things much more straight-forward at the top of the table with Thailand first, Nepal second and UAE third.
Nepal knew that if they could beat Kuwait by a convincing margin they would have a good chance of finishing second with a healthy record of five wins out of six and complete a highly satisfactory competition for their team. Kuwait were looking for a change of luck having lost all five matches and suffered a number of dispiriting injuries.
Kuwait won the toss and decided to bowl first and spirits soon rose as captain Maryam Omar took a wicket in her first over. Kajal Shrestha was run out for 18 with the score on 29 and Indu Barma was caught at mid-on as Nepal lost three wickets during the Powerplay. Kuwait were in control at the halfway stage with their opponents on 48 for five as Omar took a second wicket and Madeeha Zuberi took a wicket with her first ball. Nary Thapa has impressed with the ball in previous matches but here she made a useful contribution with the bat hitting three consecutive fours.
Priyada Murali bowled Thapa for 19 but Rubina Chhetry came in at number eight and finished the innings off in style with 22 from 13 balls with three fours. Bindu Rawal was unbeaten on 28 as Nepal recovered to 116 for 7 from their 20 overs. Kuwait could be pleased with their effort in the field particularly in the first 10 overs as Omar and Murali each took two wickets
Kuwait began well in their pursuit of 117 with openers Priyada Murali and Sabreen Zaki sharing a partnership of 23 before Zaki was bowled for 12 by left-arm spinner Nary Thapa, who took her 12th wicket of the tournament to take her to the top of the wicket-taking list. Murali was secure at the crease but captain Maryam Omar looked like a weight had lifted from her shoulders and she began to bat with a new-found freedom.
The score was 42 for one after 10 overs and Kuwait passed fifty with only one wicket down in the 12th over as the top three were all helping to put together a very good batting effort. Rubina Chhetry brought herself back on looking for a wicket but Maryam pulled her away for her third boundary. Kuwait were 62 for one after 14 overs with 55 needed from the last six overs.
Some excitable running between the wickets brought the second wicket as Murali was run out for 14 from 37 balls and Siobhan Gomez was out caught and bowled first ball. Amna Tariq was out stumped as three wickets fell in the same over and Bhandari also took a wicket from the first ball of her next over as Omar was out stumped for 29 from 36 balls as four wickets fell in the space of 13 balls. It had been a brave effort from Kuwait.
Rubina Chhetry came on for the last over and finished her tournament with a hat-trick from the last three balls of the match, as she hit the stumps all three times. Nepal won by 30 runs and moved into second place in the table on ten points from their six matches but their net run-rate was still well behind the other two teams so second place would be the best they could achieve. Kuwait were happy to finish with their best performance of the competition.
Hong Kong v Malaysia
In the morning match played at TCG Hong Kong faced Malaysia in was effectively a play-off for fifth and sixth places with both sides winning one out of their first five matches as each team had gained their only victory over Kuwait. Hong Kong won the toss and elected to field first after a delayed start and soon had Malaysia in trouble at 23 for 3 but their innings was revived by a stand of 49 from Mas Elysa and Christina Baret. Malaysia could not press home their advantage in the last four overs and were restricted to 85 for 6 in their 20 overs with Kary Chan taking 3 for 11.
Winifred Duraisingam took two wickets as Hong Kong were in trouble at 2 for 2 but they were revived by a third-wicket partnership of 64 from Yasmin Daswani and Kary Chan. A late flurry of wickets kept Malaysia in the match as four runs were needed from the last over but Ruchitha Venkatesh and Mehreen Yousaf held their nerve and saw Hong Kong home to a five-wicket victory with one ball to spare
Thailand v UAE
Only one match remained in the competition with the title still needing to be finally decided. Thailand won the toss and chose to bat first against UAE. Thailand's captain Sornnarin Tippoch explained that her team were looking to win the match to complete a clean sweep of victories in this tournament, while UAE's captain Humaira Tasneem stated that her team were treating this match as a final and just wanted to be the first team to beat Thailand.
With the hosts batting first the question of UAE getting ahead of Thailand on net run-rate had become a rather distant prospect. Thailand's openers began confidently and it was a surprise when leading run-scorer in the tournament Naruemol Chaiwai was caught behind off the bowling of Subha Ventakraman. Nattakan Chantam and Nattaya Boochatham were looking to make a major contribution. Thailand were 44 for 1 after 10 overs with Chantam on 23 from 23 balls with three fours.
Boochatham was caught at mid-wicket when she tried to increase the tempo of her innings but Chantam was batting fluently until she was lbw attempting the sweep shot for 35 from 30 balls. Thailand were 60 for 3 with eight overs left but wickets fell regularly as lower-order players came to the crease without having had much time in the middle.
Chanida Sutthiruang made another useful contribution of 22 before being expertly caught and bowled by Esha Oza who had started the match behind the stumps. Thailand kept going and reached the 100 in the 20th over with Sornnarin Tippoch and Onnicha Kampcomphu at the crease. Onnicha celebrated by hitting the second six of the tournament before being stumped off the last ball of the innings. Thailand finished on a useful 107 for eight as Subha Venkataraman had the best figures for UAE who might have still had a chance of winning the match but Thailand had ensured that they could not be overtaken in the table.
UAE's openers Chaya Mughal and Esha Oza made a solid start but the first wicket fell on 13 when Mughal was out stumped off the bowling of Nattaya Boochatham while Oza was well caught at long on by Onnicha Kampchomphu off Sornnarin Tippoch. Chanida Sutthiruang took two wickets in an over to leave UAE struggling on 20 for 4. Worse was to follow as Boochatham claimed her second wicket when she bowled Venkataraman and Sornnarin then claimed the key wicket of Chamani Seneviratne to leave UAE's innings in tatters at 23 for 6 at the halfway stage.
Udeni Dona raised UAE's spirits by hitting the second six of the day but she was seventh out when she was bowled by Ratanaporn Padunglerd and Namita D'souza soon followed as she was run out. Humaira Tasneem was ninth out bowled by Kampchomphu as Thailand closed in on an emphatic victory. The final UAE wicket came through a run out as they were bowled out for 57 in 19.2 overs. Chanida Sutthiruang, Sornnarin Tippoch and Nattaya Boochatham all took two wickets in another highly competent all-round performance but it was Nattakan Chantam who was named player of the match for her innings of 35.
Thailand had won by 50 runs to gain their sixth win of the competition and their 14th consecutive victory in T20 Internationals. Thailand were worthy champions after dominating all the opposing teams and they will now be taking part in the next stage of qualification for ICC Women's World Cups at both T20 and 50-over competitions. Nepal finished as runners-up with five wins out of six and UAE came third in the table with four wins in six matches.
Thailand’s Naruemol Chaiwai was named batter of the tournament with 181 runs, while Sornnarin Tippoch won bowler of the tournament with 13 wickets, but player of the tournament was Sita Rana Thapa of Nepal for her consistent performances with both bat and ball.
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