Thailand succumbed to a warm-up defeat to New Zealand but Chanida Sutthiruang’s performance with bat and ball kept them in the contest in Adelaide.
Suzie Bates and Amelia Kerr piled up a 126-run partnership while Leigh Kasperek and Holly Huddleston took three wickets each as New Zealand registered an 81-run victory over Thailand at the Karen Rolton Oval on Wednesday, 19 February.
It was Rachael Priest and Maddy Green who opened the innings in a re-jigged New Zealand batting order, with Sophie Devine being rested and Priest standing in for her as captain.
The opening pair put on a 48-run partnership in 3.3 overs before Priest was trapped lbw by Ratanaporn Padunglerd for 15, then Nattaya Boochatham took her first wicket when Green found the boundary rider on 34 just after the end of the powerplay.
From there the White Ferns unleashed the power of Suzie Bates – the top run-scorer in the history of the T20 World Cup – who hit 78 in a third-wicket stand with Amelia Kerr (54), before both were dismissed in Chanida Sutthiruang’s final over.
A comfortable victory for New Zealand over Thailand.— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) February 19, 2020
New Zealand''s #T20WorldCup campaign begins on Saturday against Sri Lanka!
Thailand also begin their tournament on Saturday against West Indies. pic.twitter.com/57cNam2TMC
Kerr holed out to Wongpaka Liengprasert before captain Sornnarin Tippoch caught Bates on the next ball, Sutthiruang finishing with 2/31 as the White Ferns finished on 194/4.
Leigh Kasperek took no mercy with the ball as she claimed two wickets without conceding a run in her first over, clean bowling Nattakan Chantam on the second ball before No.3 batter Nannapat Koncharoenkai perished from the next.
But three fours from Boochatham helped ease Thailand into the innings before she was dismissed for 14 when Lea Tahuhu took a fine catch at mid-wicket off Holly Huddleston.
Chawai was the fourth to fall with the scoreboard at 38 at nine over, before captain Tippoch compiled 21 off 31 balls before Rosemary Mair caught her at mid-on for Green’s first wicket.
Sutthiruang steered Thailand to 96/5 before being caught by Anna Peterson for Kasperek’s hat-trick before Huddleston got back in on the action and took two more wickets in her last over to seal the win.
At the end of the match, unifying power of cricket shone through as players from both sides gathered in huddles to discuss batting and bowling tips and what they can learn from each other ahead of the start of the T20 World Cup.
How good is this?— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) February 19, 2020
After today's game between New Zealand and Thailand, the @WHITE_FERNS spent time chatting with the @ThailandCricket squad offering tips and expertise ahead of Thailand's maiden #T20WorldCup appearance 👏 #SpiritOfCricket pic.twitter.com/7seHTFfp0D
Thailand’s Nattakan Chantam said: “We were so excited to play New Zealand today because it is the first team our team has ever played them. We were nervous, but so happy to get the chance to play one of the best teams in the world.
“We will learn a lot from today. After the match, they gave us some tips. They told us to make sure we are always watching the ball and we will hit it well. We want to keep on challenging ourselves at this World Cup.”
New Zealand’s Rachel Priest: “We knew it would be our last chance to have a good hit out before the real cricket starts and scoring 190 is a pretty good start. Credit to Thailand, they came out and played some really good shots, but our bowling attack did well.
“We always try to get to know our opposition and it’s so nice to speak to people from different cultures. I’m so pleased for them to reach the World Cup and they’ve had a great run to get here. We shared our knowledge and asked them a few questions and it was really nice to get to know each other.”
Thailand will play their first-ever ICC Women's T20 World Cup game against the West Indies in Perth on Saturday, while New Zealand open against Sri Lanka on the same day.
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