Fired by a run-a-ball stand of 66 between Heather Siegers and Sterre Kalis, Netherlands Women secured a five-wicket victory over Thailand on Wednesday, levelling the T20I series at one-all with two matches to play and posting their first-ever victory over their hosts.
The foundation of the victory, though, had come from the bowlers, who restricted Thailand to 113 for five despite a splendid unbeaten 40 from Naruemol Chaiwai who came to the crease in the fifth over with the total on 16 for one, and batted throughout the rest of the innings.
Her arrival was cued by the dismissal of Nannapat Khoncharoenkai, caught at backward point by Robine Rijke off the bowling of Eva Lynch, who came into the attack three times and three times arrested Thailand’s progress by claiming a vital wicket.
Khoncharoenkai had dominated the early overs, scoring 13 of those first 16 runs, but then Natthakan Chantham and Chaiwai took the score along to 41 before Lynch came back to remove the prolific Chantham, who got under a lofted drive and was caught by Jolien van Vliet at straight mid-on.
Thailand were 46 for two at the halfway point, with Lynch’s fellow-spinners Caroline de Lange and Silver Siegers bowling accurately to restrict the scoring, and although Chaiwai and Chanida Sutthiruang were able to add 40 in six and a half overs for the third wicket, when Lynch again returned Sutthiruang, on 19, pulled her to midwicket where Heather Siegers took the catch.
There were now five overs left, and despite the dismissals of Onnicha Kamchomphu and Somnarin Tippoch, bowled by Silver Siegers and Iris Zwilling respectively, Chaiwai was able to ensure that they produced 42 runs, including an audacious scooped boundary in Hannah Landheer’s final over.
Lynch finished with three for 25, while De Lange and Silver Siegers were the most economical of the Dutch bowlers, conceding 17 and 18 runs in their four-over contributions.
Restored to the side after missing the final ODI and first T20, skipper Heather Siegers saw Babette de Leede bowled by Nattaya Boochatham off the second delivery of the reply as she attempted a slog-sweep, but Siegers and Kalis were undeterred, producing the most concentrated period of aggressive batting their side has achieved in the series.
Siegers set the tone by lofting the final ball of that initial over back over Boochatham’s head for four, and with further boundaries coming in each of the next four overs, three of them to Kalis, by the end of the powerplay the Dutch total had reached 41.
Kamchomphu and Tippoch managed to pull the rate back for a few overs but Thailand needed wickets, and by the time Siegers was caught at deep mid-off by Sutthiruang off Thipatcha Putthawong’s bowling, her 28 coming from 26 deliveries with four fours, the tourists were well on the way to their target.
Putthawong removed Rijke two balls later, but Kalis continued in company with Zwilling, reaching her half-century, her second of the tour and her third in T20Is, off 52 deliveries.
Just ten were required off the last three overs, but Thailand achieved a much-needed breakthrough when Kalis, backing up too far, was run out for 56, made at exactly a run a ball with seven boundaries, when her desperate dive for the crease was beaten by a brilliant throw from Boochatham at mid-off, who had only one stump to aim at.
Zwilling holed out to Phannita Maya at midwicket two balls later, and with two new batters at the crease and 15 balls remaining the Thais had given themselves a chance of extending their winning run.
Kamchomphu conceded a single off the final delivery off that over, and with Annemijn Thomson and Lynch picking up three from Putthawong’s last, six were needed from Boochatham’s final over.
Long conferences ensued, then Thomson lofted the second ball to long off, Lynch scrambling back for a second; a single to square leg reduced the deficit to three from three.
A dot, then Lynch drove powerfully back to the bowler, and a ricochet towards mid-on off Boochatham’s left ankle allowed time for a single.
Now two were needed from the final delivery, and after an agonising delay while the bowler’s ankle was attended to, Thomson again went aerial, the batters stopping in mid-run for a victory embrace as the ball crossed the long off boundary.
‘We had clear plans,’ said Dutch coach Shane Deitz afterwards, ‘and we executed them better today.
‘We have talked about putting the opposition under pressure and taking the game to them more, and the partnership between Kalis and Siegers did exactly that.
‘The chase got a little closer than we had hoped, but we got there in the end and deserved the win.’
Deitz added that it had been a tough tour, ‘but we have kept working hard and stayed positive, and the team got the rewards today’.
‘We need to taken this momentum into the last two games and finish on a high.’
You’re reading Emerging Cricket — brought to you by a passionate group of volunteers with a vision for cricket to be a truly global sport, and a mission to inspire passion to grow the game.
Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, please subscribe for regular updates, and follow EC on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.
Don’t know where to start? Check out our features list, country profiles, and subscribe to our podcast.
Support us from US$2 a month — and get exclusive benefits, by becoming an EC Patron.