Thailand asserted their dominance as queens of the Associate realm with a 10-wicket win over USA.
Photo credit: Peter Della Penna
By Peter Della Penna in Dubai (Twitter @PeterDellaPenna)
USA captain Sindhu Sriharsha scored her first career T20I half-century, but USA still fell well short of setting a defendable total as Thailand chased down a target of 80 in just 11.3 overs to complete a 10-wicket thumping on Monday in match day two of the Women’s T20I Quad Series at the ICC Academy in Dubai. Natthakan Chantham picked up her second Player of the Match award in a row for Thailand after finishing unbeaten on 36 off 30 balls in the chase with six boundaries after having taken a catch and two runouts in the field.
USA won the toss and elected to bat first on another scorching hot day in Dubai when the heat index temperature rose to 117F. After six debutants on day one against Zimbabwe, the seventh first-time senior representative came into the XI as Yashaaditi Teki replaced Bhumika Bhadriraju in the lineup for USA’s only change.
USA’s haphazard running between the wickets continued where it left off against Zimbabwe, as Snigdha Paul was runout on the second ball of the match on a non-existent run to cover as she responded to Ritu Singh’s panicky charge from the non-striker’s end. Suleeporn Laomi fielded and relayed a straightforward toss to bowler Nattaya Boochatham to complete the first of four runouts.
It could easily have been five runouts for USA as Singh made another ill-advised call on a steer to backward point by Sriharsha just eight balls later in the second over, but the USA captain survived when the relay from Sunida Chaturongrattana to bowler Chanida Sutthiruang resulted in a rushed diving underhand flick from Sutthiruang at the stumps that missed with Sriharsha several yards short. The USA captain was on 2 at the time and made the most of the second chance, though she struggled to find partners to stay with her throughout the innings.
Singh fell for 4 in the third over to Boochatham, stumped while stretching too far out of her crease trying to drive a wider ball outside off stump. Anika Kolan fell two balls later for a duck playing around her pads to be given lbw. Isani Vaghela lasted three balls before she was runout without scoring to end the fifth over, unable to make the ground at the striker’s end on an attempted single to backward point by Sriharsha as Boochatham’s relay to the keeper was in time to make it 10 for 4.
Disha Dhingra joined Sriharsha and the pair added 33 for the fifth wicket, by far USA’s best partnership on the day. Dhingra struck two boundaries in her 16, one over mid-off and one flicked through backward square leg, before she finally fell in the 13th, slicing a drive off Chaturongrattana to backward point where Chantham dove forward for a superb take. Taranum Chopra became USA’s third runout victim for 2 when Chantham denied another attempted single to backward point by Sriharsha with a sharp relay to the keeper in the 17th. Thailand made it two in two balls when Geetika Kodali’s swish outside off resulted in an edge behind for a wicket to teenage left-arm spinner Thipatcha Putthawong.
After milking ones and twos for the majority of her innings, Sriharsha accelerated in the final three overs, striking a boundary in each over to dominate a 23-run partnership with Teki that allowed her to move from 31 to 50. A sweep over fine leg off Boochatham in the 18th was followed by a cut through backward point off Laomi’s legspin in the 19th before a drive over cover off Puttawong in the 20th took her to 48 with two balls left in the innings. A suicidal attempted two was driven to long-on on the penultimate delivery as Teki sacrificed herself coming back to the non-striker’s end to ensure Sriharsha kept the strike for the final ball as a basic relay from Chantham to the bowler Putthawong ended with Teki six yards short when the bails came off. Sriharsha then tapped a gentle single to point off the final ball to bring up her first T20I half-century off 61 balls.
Boochatham ended with 2 for 16 off four overs. Putthawong returned 1 for 15 in four overs including a maiden. Chaturongrattana ended as Thailand’s only other wicket-taker on the day taking 1 for 2 in two overs.
The gulf in standards between the sides was further highlighted during Thailand’s chase as the opening pair of Chantham and Nannapat Koncharoenkai were ruthless in applying pressure not just in their strokeplay but in their running between the wickets. An all-run four was completed off a flick by Koncharoenkai through wide mid-on in the sixth over as the pair seized on USA’s lethargic ball-tracking and weak-armed relays from the boundary.
USA had an opportunities to dismiss both openers during the chase, neither of which were capitalized. Chantham was on 19 in the seventh over when a heave toward deep midwicket off Singh’s offspin was allowed to land for a single as Paul hesitated off the rope and then chose not to dive for the chance. Koncharoenkai was on 33 in the 10th when a low drive off Chopra’s offspin went through her hands and continued to mid-off for a single. Koncharoenkai ended the match in Chopra’s next over, whipping a full toss through mid-on for her fifth boundary to end the match unbeaten on 42 off 40 balls.
In the day’s other match, Zimbabwe easily defeated UAE by 47 runs, restricting the hosts to 105 for 9 after posting a total of 152 for 2. Zimbabwe and Thailand will meet on Tuesday morning to decide the winner of the Women’s T20I Quad series. USA will take on UAE in the final match at 2 pm local time to decide third place.