Second-wicket pair puts on 65 in seven-wicket defeat of Thailand
Sri Lanka Women’s second-wicket pair of Nipuni Hansika (38) and Chamari Polgampola (49) put on 65 runs to set up a seven-wicket win over Thailand Women in a Group A clash of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 at the beautiful Mercantile Cricket Association Ground in Colombo on Monday (February 13).
With three wins including one against Ireland, Sri Lanka finished second on the table behind India, and will carry two points into the next round, which starts on February 15.
Asked to bowl first on a pitch with a greenish tinge, Sri Lanka restricted Thailand to 122 for 8, and then reached 123 for 3 in 34.4 overs.
Sripali Weerakkody, Inoka Ranaweera, the captain who had taken four wickets in the win against Zimbabwe, and Eshani Lokusuriyage picked up two wickets each, but Nattaya Boochatham was the story from the first innings with her 97-ball 50.
Playing its first 50-over tournament, Thailand had arrived with a batting objective of not getting bowled out in all its games. It failed against India Women, which was too strong and bundled it out for 55 in 29.1 overs, but since then, the unit has hardly put a step wrong in pursuit of its aim.
After the first game, Thailand inserted Zimbabwe, and then lasted 47.3 overs in the chase to lose by only 36 runs. It then played out its full quota of 50 overs against Ireland, going down by 46 runs.
Possibly confident after those two performances, it batted first against Sri Lanka and showed that it had learnt the lessons from its previous three games. What is commendable about its batting against the home team is that it came against a healthy bowling unit on a pitch that was assisting the bowlers.
It was fitting that Boochatham top-scored as she, along with Sornnarin Tippoch, the captain, have been Thailand’s best batters on this trip. Boochatham, who had made 44 against Ireland, hit five boundaries in her half-century.
More than the runs, what was admirable was that she lasted till the 37th over after having taken strike in the second over at the fall of the first wicket. She and Sirintra Saengsakaorat had a partnership of 46 runs for the second wicket before Lokusuriyage trapped the opener lbw with the first ball of the 24th over. The partnership lasted 21.2 overs.
The other block of resistance from Thailand came when the fourth-wicket pair of Boochatham and Tippoch (11) added 25 runs in 9.2 overs.
Boochatham, Chanida Sutthiruang and Tippoch fell in a space of one run, reducing Thailand to 89 for 6 in 38.4 overs. It fell upon Naruemol Chaiwai to ensure that the rest of the overs were played out. She remained unbeaten on 18 off 30 balls, even as the three batters who came after her played out 41 deliveries for 12 runs.
Tippoch, who has impressed every time she has got a chance to do something including producing one of the best catches of the tournament, struck in Sri Lanka’s eighth over when she had Chamari Athapaththu stumped for 16.
Polgampola joined Hansika to construct the chase in clinical fashion. They hit just two fours in their partnership as Thailand bowled tight, but used their experience to rotate strike. There was just one maiden over in a partnership that lasted 18.4 overs.
Suleeporn Laomi, the leg-spinner who was a part of the Women’s Big Bash League rookie programme in 2015-16, deceived Hansika with flight and turn to have her stumped for 38 in the 26th over.
Laomi was again in action when the penultimate ball of the 30th over delivered by her pitched twice before reaching Harshitha Madavi. The next ball was a well-flighted one and Madavi hit it in the air, only for the ball go just over the cover fielder’s outstretched hand.
Thailand found its third success when Polgampola was caught behind off Sainammin Saenya’s fourth ball of the tournament, giving Nannapat Koncharoenkai her third dismissal in the match. Dilani Manodara needed just one ball to hit the winning run.