Back-to-back centuries from Natthakan Chantham propelled Thailand to a 2-1 lead in their ongoing one-day series against the South Africa Emerging XI. Chantham followed up her maiden century (113 off 141 balls) in the second match with a fluent 114 off 120 balls in the third, carrying her bat for more than forty overs on both occasions.
On Thursday, South Africa Emerging XI won the toss and elected to bat, losing captain Andrie Steyn to Sornnarin Tippoch early, but rallying with a series of useful top-order partnerships to build a platform for a big finish. 22-year old Faye Tunnicliffe was again the glue that held the innings together, scoring 70 off 87 balls. Her fall to Onnicha Kamchomphu in the 35th over, triggered a mini collapse, as South Africa Emerging XI went from 167/3 to 177/6 in four overs.
Whereas a score of 250 plus had earlier looked well within reach on a good deck and fast outfield, the hosts had to settle for a final score of 240 all out. Finger spinners, Thipatcha Putthawong (1-38 off 10 overs), and Sornnarin Tippoch (1-25 off 7) varied their pace well and returned healthy figures, whilst the irrepressible Nattaya Boochatham (3-45 off 9.2) returned to clean up the tail.
Thailand lost Boochatham early to a wild swing off Nobulumko Baneti, but there after the visitors took charge. Chantham and Nannapat Khoncharoenkrai (64 off 97 balls) put on 182 runs in less than 35 overs, working the gaps, running hard between the wickets, and piercing the ball through the infield regularly for boundaries. By the time Chantham fell, Thailand needed 30 runs off 47 balls with seven wickets in hand, Naruemol Chaiwai shepherding the Thais to victory with a fluent 30 off 37 balls.
In the second match, Thailand won the toss and chose to bat, and it was the top three who put the game out of the South African Emerging XI’s reach. Boochatham and Chantham raced to 60 off the first ten overs, the former falling to off-spinner Winster in the 17th over.
82-1 became 241-1 in the 45th as Chantham and Khoncharoenkrai negotiated the middle overs to perfection. Khoncharoenkrai in particular played masterful high-percentage, low-risk one-day cricket, scoring 79 off 78 balls with only seven boundaries. Thailand lost five cheap wickets at the tail-end of the innings to finish on 276/6, still a mighty task for the hosts.
South Africa Emerging XI came out seemingly looking to keep wickets in hand for a final flourish, Steyn and de Klerk negotiating the first seven overs without loss. The hosts’ big partnership came between Faye Tunnicliffe (43 off 54) and Annerie Dercksen (47 off 76), but once the former fell to Boochatham at 4-125, South Africa Emerging XI’s innings never regained momentum.
Chanida Sutthiruang (0-12 off 5 overs) who had not bowled earlier in the tour due to back spasms, delivered a tidy spell of swing bowling early on, but it was the probing, strangling line and length of Thailand’s spinners that got the breakthroughs and kept the run rate in check.
Thipatcha Putthawong has really come into her own on this tour, and once again bowled a crucial spell (3-33 off 9), snaring captain Steyn in the process. Boochatham was a class above the rest, however, finishing with 4-29 off 8.3, the Thais winning comfortably by 68 runs.
Earlier, South Africa Emerging XI drew first blood in the series with a 47 run win over Thailand. The hosts were put into bat on what looked to be a slow, turning track, and scored steadily without ever going above four or five runs an over.
An 81-run partnership between Faye Tunnicliffe and Saarah Smith was the highlight of South Africa Emerging XI’s innings, the former scoring an impressive 65 off 86 balls with six boundaries. Delmi Tucker also scored a crucial 25 off 30 balls, taking South Africa Emerging XI beyond the 150 mark to 192, a total that was to prove more than enough.
Thailand struggled against a disciplined South Africa Emerging XI attack, and it was telling that the visitors’ highest partnership was 39 runs for the second wicket. Chantham (34 off 65), Chaiwai (34 off 59), and Khoncharoenkrai (19 off 35) all got starts, but South Africa Emerging XI’s spinners found wickets at regular intervals. Tucker was the pick of the bowlers with 2-23 off 10 overs.
The fourth match of the five match series is today, and will be followed with a three match T20 series.
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