India cruise past Thailand


India Women coasted to their second successive victory, breezing past Thailand Women by nine wickets well before the lunch break in a Group A clash of the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 on a sunny Wednesday (February 8) at the picturesque Colombo Cricket Club Ground.

By opting to take first strike, Thailand gave itself a challenge of batting out its entire quota of 50 overs. It fell well short to be dismissed for 55 in 29.1 overs. 

Mansi Joshi, the right-arm medium-pacer who is yet to make her One-Day International debut, led India’s charge with figures of 5-4-4-3 in one spell. The spin trio of Deepti Sharma, Poonam Yadav and Rajeshwari Gayakwad picked up two wickets each to put a swift end to Thailand’s batting stint.

India chased down the target in 12.4 overs for its second win in as many days, having beaten Sri Lanka Women by 114 runs on Tuesday, to almost assure itself of a berth in the Super Six stage. MD Thirushkamini and Veda Krishnamurthy were unbeaten on 24 and 17 respectively when the win was completed.

The tone for the day was set in the first over of the match when Nattakan Chantam played across the line against Shikha Pandey to be trapped lbw. Joshi’s first wicket came in her second over when Sirintra Saengsakaorat failed to check her drive and was caught by Gayakwad at point.

Mithali Raj introduced spin in the form of Deepti in the seventh over, and she struck almost immediately but Nattaya Boochatham’s edge flew past Veda at second slip to the third-man fence for the first four of the innings.

That brought a lot of applause from the Thailand tent, but there were few other moments to cheer. Ratanaporn Padunglerd was struck on the back foot after missing the line of a straight ball from Joshi. Two balls later, Sornnarin Tippoch, the captain who bats left-handed, left a delivery thinking it would move away, but the ball came back in sharply to take the stumps.

At 10 for 4, Thailand desperately needed a partnership to make something out of the game. It was not to be as it failed to read Yadav, the leg-spinner playing her first match of the tournament.

Chanida Sutthiruang, who top-scored with 12 and hit two fours, swept Yadav against the turn only for Harmanpreet Kaur to complete the formalities at first slip.

Very early in the piece, it became evident that India needed to test itself against its own standards to tick mark a few boxes, and it did that well. Raj was attacking with her field settings, placing all the players inside the 30-yard circle for most part of the innings. She also gave all her main bowlers a chance to have a go. Veda took a sharp reflex catch at second slip to send Suleeporn Laomi back to the hut, and Joshi and Yadav derived good bounce from the pitch.

The only glitch during the 102 minutes that India spent on the field was when Joshi dropped an easy catch off Yadav to give Sutthiruang a life, which she did not make use of.

From a batting perspective, India promoted Harmanpreet to open the innings to allow her more time to get acquainted to the slow surfaces in Colombo. She fell for 15, but the 21-ball knock gave her time in the middle. Similarly, Thirushkamini, after missing out in the Sri Lanka game, and Veda played some fluent shots to get into the groove. Thirushkamini hit the winning boundary to the mid-wicket fence to end the game.

India plays its next match against Ireland at the P Sara Oval, while Thailand takes on Zimbabwe at the Mercantile Cricket Association. Both the games are on February 10.