England aim for easy points, Thailand look to build on promise

Batting will be in focus for Thailand. © ICC

Both teams are coming off similar results – the dreaded ‘L’. But the way those results were dealt to them were different.

One side did “a lot of meditation” on the eve of their game, which was the first time in a T20 World Cup, while one of the players from the other team said that “none of our team would ever do that” about running the non-striker out while backing up.

Thailand’s tale is a bit of a cricket fairy-tale. Their smiles and happiness were spoken about widely on social media. But now slowly, the focus will move from how they are as individual and as a team personality to how they play. And their first look at the big level inspired confidence.

It will be too early to expect Thailand to start beating teams that have been in the circuit longer than they have. But they can surely give teams like Bangladesh – especially after their outing against India – and even Sri Lanka, who haven’t been at their best in the field, a run for their money. Thailand were very tight on the field, attacking the ball and keeping the game in the balance.

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It was only the experience of Stafanie Taylor that prevented them from notching up a win first-up. Thailand’s spinners, led by Nattaya Boochatham, Suleeporn Laomi as well as Soraya Lateh kept it tight and gave little away at the start. If anything requires immediate attention, it’s their batting. They never found momentum and the boundaries, which in the end proved to be the difference.

Coming to England, they were undone against South Africa mainly by the partnership between Dane van Niekerk and Marizanne Kapp. Through Sarah Glenn and Sophie Ecclestone, they did try to stage a comeback only to be denied by ‘mighty’ Mignon du Preez. But, as Natalie Sciver said after the game, their batters let them down. “I think we were a bit short with the bat. We didn’t quite get enough runs unfortunately,” she admitted.

England’s captain Heather Knight seconded that, saying, “As players you have to be flexible and each ball can be really important, so we have to get used to that. You have to be open-minded, to park the ego sometimes and know the job you’re doing is right for the team.”

However, the positive thing, as Sciver saw, was that England were moving to Canberra, where they’ll play two games. “We’ve got a couple of games in Canberra to hopefully get used to the wicket a little bit. We get two games in the same place,” she said, before adding, “So, hopefully we can go out there and play positively and play with freedom. I know the first game sometimes you have a few nerves around. I was nervous since two days ago watching the first game. So, nerves can be good, but bad also sometimes.”

Although those will be different conditions, England will likely not want to separate their spin twins after their good show, though a seamer in Freya Davies and an allrounder in Georgia Elwiss await their turn. The English side also have the advantage of fairly knowing the Manuka Oval, where they had featured in the tri-series.

Come Wednesday (February 26), will we see England crush Thailand or will the newbies’ extend the promise they showed and put up a tougher fight? Exciting times ahead, nonetheless!

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England: Heather Knight (c), Tammy Beaumont, Amy Jones, Danielle Wyatt, Natalie Sciver, Katherine Brunt, Georgia Elwiss, Sophie Ecclestone, Freya Davies, Anya Shrubsole, Lauren Winfield, Sarah Glenn, Kate Cross, Mady Villiers, Fran Wilson.

Thailand: Sornnarin Tippoch (c), Nattaya Boochatham, Wongpaka Liengprasert, Naruemol Chaiwai, Nattakan Chantham, Ratanaporn Padunglerd, Suleeporn Laomi, Nannapat Khoncharoenkai, Onnicha Kamchomophu, Phannita Maya, Chanida Sutthiruang, Soraya Lateh, Rosenanee Kanoh, Thipatcha Puttawong, Suwanan Khiaoto.