Thailand squeeze home against much-improved Dutch


Thailand held their nerve against a greatly-improved Dutch side in the second ODI at Chiang Mai on Tuesday, securing a tense 8-run victory which had seemed highly improbable for much of the game.

In truth though, Heather Siegers’ team had only themselves to blame for their narrow defeat, having bowled a plethora of wides in Thailand’s innings and then collapsing after reaching 80 without loss in pursuit of a modest Thai total of 176 all out.

Had the Dutch not conceded 47 extras, including no fewer than 37 wides, they would have been chasing a target well below 150, but even so they did well to bowl their opponents out after Somnarin Tippoch and Sunday’s centurion Natthakan Chantham had put on 68 in twelve overs for the first wicket.

It was spinner Eva Lynch who brought her side back into the game, getting Tippoch caught for 18 with only her second delivery and then grabbing the vital wicket of Chantham, caught by Iris Zwilling at midwicket when she had made a 65-ball 42.

In her next over she trapped Naruemol Chaiwai leg-before, beating her with the flight as she swung across the line, and Thailand were 101 for three; Lynch’s initial seven-over spell yielded her the three wickets at a cost of 26 runs, while at the other end Caroline de Lange had again kept the batters quiet, bowling six overs for 17.

Siegers now reverted to her seamers, and each picked up a wicket: Frédérique Overdijk bowled Suleeporn Laomi as she, too, tried to swing her away, and Iris Zwilling had Nannapat Khoncharoenkai caught by Jolien van Vliet at mid-off.

Only Rosenanee Kanoh of the remaining batters was able to reach double figures, Lynch returning to remove Phannita Maya and finish with four for 33, while De Lange had Thipatcha Putthawong caught at mid-on by Robine Rijke and then bowled Kanoh for 14.

De Lange ended with two for 30, and then Zwilling finished off the innings, taking two for 33.

Requiring only three and a half an over the Dutch batters did not need to take many chances, and with Sterre Kalis looking much more assured than she had on Sunday, she and Babette de Leede picked off the runs at a steady pace for the first 21 overs.

Thai skipper Chaiwai had deployed seven bowlers by this point in her search for a breakthrough, which came when De Leede, on 37, hit Onnicha Kamchomphu back over her head and was caught by Kanoh at long on.

Two more wickets fell in the next fourteen deliveries as Boochatham and Kamchomphu began to apply the pressure, Jolien van Vliet hitting a straightforward return catch to the former and Rijke smearing the latter to Chantham at midwicket.

Worse was to follow, Siegers hitting a Putthawong full toss straight to Chantham, but Kalis was still there, bringing up her first ODI half-century, from 84 deliveries, and after 32 overs the Dutch needed only 65 more runs from 18 overs.

But then Kalis tried to push for a second to third man and was beaten by Laomi’s throw, departing for 54.

Zwilling and Overdijk kept their side’s hopes alive with a sixth-wicket stand of 40, reducing the deficit to 23, but when Laomi dismissed Zwilling and Lynch with successive deliveries and Overdijk, after sweeping Tippoch to the square leg boundary, was caught at mid-on next ball, the Dutch were on 161 for eight and the Thais could sense an unlikely victory.

Commanding her troops from under a helmet at silly mid-off, Chaiwai continued to set attacking fields for her spinners, even after Gwen Bloemen had cut Laomi for four, and her faith was rewarded when five deliveries later De Lange hit a simple return catch.

Three balls later Bloemen was caught by Putthawong at backward square off Tippoch, and Thailand had denied the Netherlands their victory.

The spinners again collected all the wickets, Laomi taking three for 43, Tippoch two for 17 and Kamchompoo two for 22.

Dutch coach Shane Deitz was pleased with his team’s improved performance, although he acknowledged that ’37 wides and the top order giving their wickets away’ had cost the Dutch the game.

‘We talked about being more aggressive and controlling the game more, and we did that for 70% of the match; at this level small margins of error make the difference, but the girls trained hard on the rest day and were up for the fight.

‘We just need to learn how to win, but that will come with time, confidence and self-belief. We have six opportunities ahead of us, and we are determined to keep getting better.’

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