Zimbabwe edge Thailand by one wicket in first T20I

Naruemol Chaiwai and Mary-Anne Musonda at the start of the first T20I
Naruemol Chaiwai and Mary-Anne Musonda at the start of the first T20I

Zimbabwe snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, beating Thailand by one wicket in the first T20I of the three-match series.

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field first. The probing Josephine Nkomo had Boochatham caught in the second over. Soon after, medium pacer Audrey Mazvishaya accounted for Chantham, who laboured for six runs off 19 balls. Christabel Chatonzwa then created mayhem in the ninth over when she had Onnicha Kamchomphu stumped, and Chaiwai bowled in consecutive deliveries. Thailand were reeling at 29/4.

Their fight back was as impressive as the collapse. Nannapat Khoncharoenkrai batted as if nothing had changed, striking nine impressive boundaries in an unbeaten 62 off 53 balls. She and the irrepressible Chanida Sutthiruang (33 not out off 37 balls) combined for an unbeaten partnership of 75 off 11 overs to see Thailand cross the hundred mark. For Zimbabwe, Chatonzwa finished with 2/22 in four overs, and Nkomo was characteristically hard to get away with figures of 1/17 off her allotment.

A target of 105 did not seem enough on a flat deck, but pressure does strange things to teams.

Just as Thailand ended their innings on a positive note, Zimbabwe began confidently. After Boochatham had the out-of-form Ndiraya plumb in third ball, Mupachikwa (29 off 37) and Mugeri-Tiripano (30 off 30) set about building a strong platform. At 49/1 in the tenth over and with the batting left to come, Zimbabwe were in a fine position to finish off the game.

Naruemol Chaiwai and Mary-Anne Musonda at the start of the first T20I
Naruemol Chaiwai and Mary-Anne Musonda at the start of the first T20I (Photo: Cricket Zimbabwe)

Their collapse was as spectacular as Thailand’s recovery. Mugeri-Tiripano fell first, stumped to a good delivery from Onnicha Kamchomphu, and Mupachikwa followed suit, bowled to Laomi. Musonda, Marange, and Nkomo were back in the pavilion in the space of ten balls between the 13th and 15th overs. Suddenly Zimbabwe were staring down the barrel of defeat at 80/8 in the 17th, Laomi (2/22), Kamchomphu (3/18), and Boochatham (3/18) doing the damage.

There was to be one more twist in the match. Chiedza Dhururu and Nomvelo Sibanda kept the score ticking over, negotiated Thailand’s spinners with due caution. And when Dhururu fell for 15 off 16 balls with seven balls to go, Zimbabwe only needed two runs for the win. It took them another four deliveries with Sibanda hitting the winning boundary off Tippoch, sending the hosts into well deserved celebration.

Despite the disappointing loss, Thailand Manager, Shan Kader expressed his satisfaction with the team’s performances in the tour so far. ‘The girls are just getting into their stride, registering flashes of brilliance in these games. It’s just a matter of tweaking our game, becoming more consistent in certain areas, and getting more games under our belts,’ Kader told Emerging Cricket.

‘I’m really happy with the progress we have made after 18 months away from international cricket,’ he continued.

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