Pakistan had won both their previous matches in the tournament comfortably by nine wickets each. So, it was no surprise that Pakistan opted to bat first after winning the toss, with the aim of probably giving their untested middle order some time in the middle.
Pakistan’s in form opening pair of Muneeba Ali and Sidra Ameen made contrasting starts as Ali was fluent from the outset and strong on the cut and sweep. Ameen had a much tougher time rotating the strike against the disciplined Thailand attack.
Ali’s promising innings came to an end on 15 from 14 balls after she failed to connect with an attempted sweep off Thippatcha Puuthawong. Things soon went further downhill for Pakistan as captain Bismah Maroof was run out for just three after a mix up with Ameen. Maroof seemed livid with her dismissal, which brought Nida Dar to the crease.
Dar and Ameen were both completely bogged down by the impressive Thai bowlers as the scoring was reduced to a crawl as they operated at below a run a ball throughout their partnership.
The frustration eventually told as Dar departed for a laboured 12 off 22 balls when she holed out to long on while going for her first big hit. Ayesha Nassem then walked out and swung a huge six over long on off her second delivery before being bowled by the wily Sornnarin Tippoch for eight off five balls while trying to go for another big hit.
Ameen almost batted right through the innings to score 56 off 64 balls before being run out in the final over. Aliya Riaz then hit a four down the ground off the last ball of the innings as Pakistan finished with 116 for five in 20 overs.
Natthakan Chantham powered Thailand to a fine start in the chase, stroking a fluent off drive against Nida Dar and then using her feet beautifully to loft Nashra Sandhu over mid off.
Tuba Hassan changed the game in her second over though as she bowled both Nannapat Koncharoenkai and Chanida Sutthiruang for 13 and a duck respectively with a couple of well flighted leg breaks.
Captain Naruemol Chaiwai then steadied things by putting on a 42-run partnership with Chantham. Chaiwai used the sweep and slog sweep extensively, while Chantham continued to loft elegantly over the off side.
Kainat Imtiaz struck on her return to the Pakistan side by having Chaiwai caught behind for 17 with a short and wide delivery.
Dar then had former captain Tippoch caught at long off for three but Chantham brough up her fifty with a stylish six over long on off Dar.
Chantham almost took Pakistan over the finish line but was dismissed by Dar for a sublime 61 off just 51 balls in the penultimate over.
That left them needing 10 off the last over bowled by Diana Baig. Rosenan Kanoh hit a four down the ground before Nattaya Boochatham swung one over midwicket to seal a monumental win for Thailand.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 116/5 in 20 overs (Sidra Ameen 56; Sornnarin Tippoch 2/20) lost to Thailand 117/6 in 19.5 overs (Natthakan Chantham 61; Tuba Hassan 2/18, Nida Dar 2/26) by four wickets POTM: Natthakan Chantham
In the second match of the day, hosts Bangladesh opted to bat first against Malaysia, the lowest ranked team in the tournament.
Malaysia were provided the perfect start by their spearhead Sasha Azmi who dismissed the dangerous Shamima Sultana on the first ball after trapping her plumb in front.
Bangladesh brought Murshida Khatun into the team and she opened the batting, which meant that Fargana Hoque dropped down to no. three.
Murshida was severe on anything pitched up, as she drove expertly through the covers but Hoque faced a struggle to get off strike and battled for 10 off 24 balls before she was stumped off the excellent Mahirah Izzati Ismail.
Skipper Nigar Sultana walked out to the crease after Hoque’s dismissal and turned the game around, first by running hard between the wickets and turning the strike over to Murshida, who was scoring at a brisk pace and then then by going all out in the last five overs.
Sultana and Murshida put on a 87-run stand for the third wicket and rescued Bangladesh from a spot of bother. Sultana scored 53 off just 34 balls, while Murshida finished with 56 from 54 deliveries.
Both of them fell in the penultimate over but had done enough by then to ensure that Bangladesh finished with 129 for five.
Malaysia pushed their best batter in the tournament, Elsa Hunter up to open in the absence of Wan Julia. Hunter and captain Winifred Duraisingam took a cautious approach from the outset and look to play the bowlers out.
They managed to do that successfully for the first five overs but Fariha Trisna’s probing inswing dented them badly as she picked up a hat-trick in the sixth over, becoming the first to achieve the feat in the Asia Cup and just the second bowler to achieve the feat on debut.
She first bowled Duraisingam for five before trapping Mas Elysa in front with one that swung in, before going on to rattle Mahirah Izzat Ismail’s stumps in front of a vociferous home crowd.
Fahima Khatun, who replaced Shohely Akhter in the playing XI, then went on to bowl Hunter and had Ainna Hamizah Hashim caught at long on as Malaysia suffered from a collapse.
Rumana Ahmed and Sanjida Akter also got into the act as Malaysia’s lower order batters struggles to read the spin against the host’s high class spin attack and were bowled out for a paltry .
Brief Scores: Bangladesh 129/5 in 20 overs (Murshida Khatun 56, Nigar Sultana 53; Sasha Azmi 1/15) beat Malaysia 117/6 in 19.5 overs (Fariha Trisna 3/12, Rumana Ahmed 2/26) by runs POTM: Nigar Sultana