After a brief rain delay, Malaysia won the toss and opted to bowl first in their final game of the Asia Cup. Sasha Azmi started the proceedings with the ball and gave away just three runs in her first over. She clean-bowled Natthakan Chantham in her second over to give a crucial breakthrough for Malaysia. Thailand were cautious in the powerplay as they added 25 runs.
Captain Naruemol Chaiwai and vice-captain Koncharoenkai made most of the dropped catches to steady Thailand’s innings. Chaiwai hit the first boundary of the partnership in the 10th over to take her team to 46. The boundaries were hard to come by so the pair relied on running between the wickets to keep the scoreboard ticking. The experienced duo added 56 for the second wicket before a sharp throw from Aisya Eleesa cut short Chaiwai’s innings for 28.
Koncharoenkai was looking to smash her 3rd T20I half-century, but a fine catch from Nur Dania Syuhada ended her knock on 41. Chanida Sutthiruang added some late fireworks to take Thailand to 115 for five in the first innings. For Malaysia, captain Winifred Duraisingam took two wickets, while Sasha Azmi was at her economical best.
In reply, Malaysia opened with Elsa Hunter and Wan Julia to chase down the mammoth total. Hunter smashed Nattaya Boochatham for an early boundary to show some fight, but she lost her partner, Julia, for a duck in the second over of the chase. Captain Duraisingam joined Hunter early in the chase. She struggled in the beginning as Malaysia could only manage 21 runs in the powerplay.
In Thipatcha Putthawong’s first over after the powerplay, Thailand bagged two wickets to skittle Malaysia. Duraisingam was still in the middle for Malaysia, but the required rate was climbing up. At the halfway mark, Malaysia were 29 for three, and needed 87 runs from 60 balls.
Duraisingam struggled throughout her innings, and she was stumped by Koncharoenkai for 15. After the captain’s departure, Malaysia lost five wickets for just 19 runs and they could only score 65 for eight in the chase. For Thailand, Putthawong took two wickets as they registered their third straight win in the Asia Cup.
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In the second game of the day, UAE’s captain Chaya Mughal won the toss and opted to bowl against Pakistan. They made one change to their playing XI with Samaira Dharnidharka coming in for Suraksha Kotte. Pakistan’s playing XI remained unchanged for the match.
Opener Muneeba Ali showed her intentions early with a boundary in the first over bowled by Mughal. She continued her aggressive batting against the left-arm pace of Mahika Gaur as well. Gaur came back to dismiss Ali’s opening partner, Sidra Ameen, for two. That did not stop Ali as she smashed Mughal for the first six of the innings. Her aggression led to Pakistan scoring 34 runs in the powerplay.
After the powerplay, Mughal handed the ball to Esha Oza, who took two wickets in two balls to ring some alarm bells for Pakistan. Captain Bismah Maroof got caught by wicketkeeper Teertha Satish, while Omaima Sohail departed for a duck. Oza missed her hat trick, but she helped keep Pakistan under pressure.
Riaz joined Ali when Pakistan were 41 for 3 in the eighth over. She took her time to settle and watched Ali go about her business. Once the left-hander got out trying to make most of the full toss, Riaz changed gears. She clobbered Vaishnave Mahesh for a six and three boundaries to take Pakistan past 100. In the penultimate over, bowled by Mughal, she smashed another six and a four to reach her maiden half-century. Nine runs from the final over took Pakistan to 145 for five in the first innings.
UAE’s chase started on a positive note, as the opening pair, Oza and Satish, took 11 runs from Sadia Iqbal’s second over. That positivity did not last long. Riaz took a simple catch to send Oza back for three. UAE did not lose another wicket in the powerplay but lost Satish for 14 immediately after the powerplay. Ali’s lightning-quick work behind the stumps gave Nashra Sandhu her first wicket of the day.
Young batters Kavisha Egodage and Khushi Sharma tried their best to keep the scoreboard ticking, but they could not get going against an experienced Pakistani bowling lineup. Sharma hit two boundaries in Sandhu’s third over, but that did not help UAE in the chase. She remained unbeaten on 20 to see Pakistan win the match by 71 runs.
Thailand 115/5 in 20 overs (Nannapat Koncharoenkai 41; Winifred Duraisingam 2/13) beat Malaysia 65/8 in 20 overs (Mahirah Izzati Ismail 17; Thipatcha Putthawong 2/7) by 50 runs
Pakistan 145/5 in 20 overs (Aliya Riaz 57*, Muneeba Ali 43; Esha Oza 3/22) beat UAE 74/5 in 20 overs (Khushi Sharma 20*; Aiman Anwer 1/10) by 71 runs