Chanida Sutthiruang dismantled Namibia with her booming inswingers. © ICC

For a long while is seemed the morning round of Day 2 of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 in Scotland could be labelled the ‘Morning of the Minnows’. Both Papua New Guinea and Namibia got off to brilliant starts with the ball against Scotland and Thailand, respectively. However, while the former managed to carry that momentum into their batting, pulling off a thrilling six-wicket upset, Namibia crashed to a 38-run defeat.

 

In the Group A encounter between Scotland and PNG at the Abroath Sports Club on Sunday (September 1), the hosts recovered from a disastrous start that saw them reduced to 38 for 3 in 8.1 overs. Ravina Oa accounted for Sarah Bryce in the very first over, before Sibona Jimmy picked up two more wickets.

However, Kathryn Bryce, Scotland captain, dug her heels in and kept her team in the hunt with a responsible knock. She soaked up the pressure, happy to play herself in before going on the offensive. The skipper’s knock of 45 guided her team to a competitive 101 for 5 in their 20 overs. Although it was not a huge total, early wickets would allow Scotland to put pressure on PNG.

With the ball too, is was Kathryn who led the way for her team, dismissing Naoani Vare in the fifth over of the chase. Despite the loss of an early wicket, PNG continued to milk the bowling, picking up singles and twos every over, and trying to find the boundary once in a while.

At 36 for 2 in 8 overs, most people would have thought the hosts were in a better position. However, Brenda Tau’s 31-ball 30 and Tanya Ruma’s 25— that included the only six of the innings— took the visitors to the brink of history.

When the latter was dismissed with PNG needing 23 runs off 24 balls, the question became which team would blink first. PNG went about the process smartly, continuing to deal in singles. During this period, they found the boundary only twice – both at crucial times. In the end Kaia Arua (10 not out) and Konio Oala (13 not out) made sure their team got over the line in the final over, with three balls to spare.

It was a historic victory— the team’s first against Scotland, and also their first against a higher-ranked team.

 

Over at the Forfashire Cricket Club in Dundee, Namibia bossed the first half of their Group B encounter against Thailand. However, their luck didn’t last much longer as they struggled to reach the same standards with the bat. Namibia, who at the beginning of the tournament said they were there to compete, started the match full of energy. Their bowlers were bounding in, fielders diving around, and Yasmeen Khan’s plans were spot on.

Almost immediately, their efforts bore fruit as Sylvia Shihepo, the right-arm fast bowler, reduced the Asian champions to 21 for 3 within the power play. Thailand’s situation did not improve in the next few overs— they crumbled to 37 for 6 in 10.2 overs.

With only one of their top six batters (Nannapat Konchaorenkai) managing a double digit score, Thailand’s lower-middle order were up staring down the barrel. Sornnarin Tippoch, their captain, was left with the task to both rebuild and lift the scoring rate that was languishing below four an over.

Like her Scottish counterpart over in Arbroath, Tippoch too dug deep, playing a captain’s innings to lead Thailand to a competitive 99 for 6. The left-hander shared an unbeaten 62-run stand for the seventh wicket with Wongpaka Liengprasert who  finished unbeaten on 22, while Tippoch collected 37 off 41 deliveries.

In all truth, Namibia were never in the chase. Chanida Sutthiruang, Thailand’s star in the previous game removed Adri van der Merwe, off the first ball of the innings. After that, she took two wickets in succession as Namibia collapsed to 15 for 4.

From that position, there was clearly no coming back for the African nation. Thailand’s spinners choked the batters, drying up the runs while picking up wickets a regular intervals. Only two of Namiia’s batters managed double digit scores— one of which was Wilka Mwatile at no.9, who topped scored with 16.

In the end, Sutthiruang came back into the attack to finish off the innings, picking up her fourth wicket of the day. She finished with wonderful figures of 4 for 13 and bagged her second consecutive player of the match award. Namibia were 61 all out— 38 runs short of the target.

 

Brief Scores: 

Scotland 101/5 in 20 overs (Kathryn Bryce 45; Shibona Jimmy 2-16) lost to Papua New Guinea 102/4 in 19.3 overs (Brenda Tau 30, Tanya Ruma 25) by six wickets. PoM: Brenda Tau.

Thailand 99/6 in 20 overs (Sornnarin Tippoch 37*, Wongpaka Liengprasert 22*; Sylvia 3-8, Wilka Mwatile 2-17) beat Namibia 61 in 19.2 overs (Chanida Sutthiruang 4-13, Nattaya Boochatham 2-7) by 38 runs. PoM: Chanida Sutthiruang.