Thailand’s women were unable to complete a T20 World Cup boilover at the Sydney Showground, with light, yet unrelenting rain denying them this afternoon.
Despite drizzle falling for almost the entirety of Thailand’s innings, the underdogs were at least given the chance to warn the rest of the world that their ascent will only continue.
For all of the talk of Thailand’s bowling and fielding prowess, it was their batting that turned heads, as Natthakan Chantham and Nattaya Bootchatham blasted away in the first ten overs.
To put their progress into perspective, Thailand’s first T20I (with status) was against Pakistan in June 2018, at the Women’s Asia Cup. There, they finished with a scored of just 67-8 from their 20 overs. Today, they finished with a total of 150-3, and provided a case and point for giving Associate Members more opportunity at the highest level of the game.
The pair made 49 in the power play overs, and continued the charge through the middle overs, with expert timing and placement to punish loose deliveries. Overcorrecting at times, Pakistan’s bowlers were not given a moment’s rest, with a full toss put away through cover followed up boundaries on the leg-side.
Pakistan could even count themselves lucky to take their first wicket halfway through the fourteenth over, as Bootchatham fell to a full toss hit into the deep off Anam Amin. Trying to put away another bad delivery, the opener could only find Aliya Riaz, who clutched gratefully low down.
Chantam continued her assault with Chanida Sutthirunang bumped up the order, pummeling Anam through point next ball. Moving to 49 at the end of the over, she brought up her half century with a swivelling pull shot behind square, with her teammates screaming in appreciation as the ball rocketed into the advertising boards.
Chalking up the first individual fifty for Thailand at a World Cup, Chantham continued to kick ahead, only to be denied by an athletic return catch by Diana Baig. Met at the boundary by her teammates, the group watched on to see Koncharoenkai and Chanida pick up the slack. Picking up 45 runs in the last 4.1 overs, the pair were crafty in their attack, often piercing gaps behind square. Thailand passed their highest ever T20I score, gliding by their previous best of 133-8 against the Netherlands last year. A rattled Pakistan was staring down the barrel of a huge defeat, with 139 their highest ever successful chase.
As one of cricket’s greatest frustrations, the rain that fell during Thailand’s innings was not enough to force the players off, but was too strong to resume play after the innings.
Thai players were left to warm up outside the boundary rope, though when overs the started to come off the second innings due to rain, the squad moved to pockets of the crowd to sign autographs. Skipper Sornnarin Tippoch led a dance troop of Thai players, lamenting the loss of time and possibilities of victory. The sands of the hourglass reached the bottom, and it was the 6:03pm deadline that defeated Thailand today.
More to follow, including thoughts from the Thai playing group.