The Indian bowlers barely broke a sweat when they dismissed Thailand for a pitiful 37, and then they scored the required runs in just six overs with nine wickets left over to win the Women’s Asia Cup’s seven-team group league on Monday.
India has now won five times in its last six games, with its sole loss coming in a close encounter against Pakistan.
India, which has 10 points after six games, is anticipated to be joined in the semifinals by Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and one of Thailand and Bangladesh.
Bangladesh still has a game to play, and they just need to win it to surpass Thailand in net run rate (+0.423 after 5 games) (-0.949 in 6 games).
Smriti Mandhana, the stand-in captain, immediately put Thailand into bat after winning the toss. From that point on, the situation became difficult for the inexperienced Thai women.
The disparity In ability was so great that Thailand could only muster 37 runs before being dismissed in the 16th over. The second-highest score was 7 by Nattaya Boochatham, making Nannapat Koncharoenkai (12) the only batter to reach double digits.
When India was able to score the first run, wickets fell like nine pins, making Nannapat and Natthakan Chantham’s (6) 13-run opening stand their highest.
Naturally, the run-flow was stifled by off-break bowlers Deepti Sharma (2/10) and Sneh Rana (3/9), who were appropriately supported by left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/8).
Pooja Vastrakar was the only player without a wicket, but Meghna Singh contributed with one as well.
Vastrakar (12 not out), along with opener S Meghana (20 not out), scored the runs in just six overs, although she was moved up the order to No. 3 to gain some batting experience.
Replacing skipper Mandhana thanked all the female players for making his 100th T20 international special in a post-game statement.
Mandhana was all praise for her bowling unit: “I wouldn’t say lesser opposition and Thailand played superb cricket but our bowlers really didn’t give them any chance.”
“A win like this increases confidence, and we would undoubtedly do well in the semifinal,” said Sneh Rana, the game’s player of the match.