All-round India make it to final of Asia Cup with emphatic win over Thailand

Shajin Mohanan S
New Update
All-round India make it to final of Asia Cup with emphatic win over Thailand

India reach their fourth consecutive T20 Asia Cup final © Asian Cricket Council

India displayed a clinical team performance on sluggish surface against the spirited Thailand to reach the final of the T20 Asia Cup. Shafali Verma’s 42 and Deepti Sharma-led bowling effort helped India register a 74-run win in the first semi-final at the Sylhet International Cricket Stadium on Thursday (October 13).

Put into bat by Thailand, India openers chose to attack despite struggling for timing early on. Shafali Verma got a couple of streaky braces to get going and Smriti Mandhana, despite a backfoot drive for four, couldn’t find her rhythm at all.

In the third over, Shafali hit a couple of boundaries and Mandhana had her second four of the innings. Shafali took on Chanida  Sutthiruang and added two more fours to her kitty. The opening duo was looking for more when Mandhana hit a full toss straight to mid-on as the partnership ended on 38.

Despite some lucky escapes, Shafali continue to go for her shots and launched Thipatcha Putthawong for a huge six. Just when it seemed like the big-hitting teenager would go on to bat long, the experienced Sornnarin Tippoch struck with her first ball to remove Shafali for yet another 40+ score.

From there, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur added 42 runs for the third wicket. The duo started with three boundaries off Nanthita Boonsukham and had two more fours and India needed them to stay on for a big finish.

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However, Rodrigues hit one straight to the throat of long-on in the 14th over and Kaur after hitting a couple of cut shots for four off Nattaya Boochatham holed out in the deep for 36 off 30 balls. Pooja Vastrakar hit a six in the penultimate over, but still India couldn’t reach the 150-run mark with Deepti getting out in the final ball.

For Thailand, Sornnarin Tippoch picked up three big wickets and finished with figures of 3 for 24 from her four overs. Shafali was the top-scorer for India with 42.

In the chase, Thailand once again struggled against Indian spinners early on – especially against Deepti. The off spinner had Shafali drop a sitter before holding on to one in the same over to dismiss Nannapat Koncharoenkai.

Deepti, now the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, then removed Natthakan Chantham with Vastrakar pulling off an excellent catch on the boundary. She continued to take wickets and then sent back Tippoch to leave Thailand reeling at 18 for three in the seventh over.

Things went from bad to worse for Thailand when Renuka Singh Thakur bowled Sutthiruang with a yorker and they were down to 22 for four at the end of the pacers’ over.

Although Boochatham and skipper Naruemol Chaiwai 42 for the fifth wicket, it was just about delaying the inevitable as they took their time. Once Sneh Rana ended the partnership when she trapped Boochatham in front of the wicket for 21, Thailand once again lost wickets in a flurry and were eventually finished their innings on 74 for nine giving India an emphatic win.

Brief Scores: India 148/6 in 20 overs (Shafali Verma 42, Harmanpreet Kaur 36; Sornnarin Tipoch 3/24) beat Thailand 74/9 in 20 overs (Nattaya Boochatham 21, Naruemol Chaiwai 21; Deepti Sharma 3/7, Rajeshwari Gayakwad 2/10) by 74 runs