Thailand’s Asia Cup
High Highs and Low Lows
A tournament of extremes for Thailand, going from the highs of toppling Pakistan for the first time, to the lows of defeat against India, bowled out for just 37 runs. Yet, through all that, some good fortune to scrape into the semi finals in fourth spot. It was the first time Thailand had made the semi finals.
The team started slowly with back to back losses against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. From there it was going to be tough but they put themselves right back in the tournament with a stirring win over Pakistan – arguably the team’s best ever victory.
Predictable wins over UAE and Malaysia kept them in touch with the top four but it came crashing down against India in what was the team’s most disappointing result of the series.
- Bangladesh v Thailand (Bangladesh by 9 wickets)
- Sri Lanka v Thailand (Sri Lanka by 49 runs)
- Pakistan v Thailand (Thailand by 4 wickets)
- Thailand v UAE (Thailand by 19 runs)
- Malaysia v Thailand (Thailand by 50 runs)
- India v Thailand (India by 9 wickets)
- Semi final: India v Thailand (India by 74 runs)
A general lack of consistency at the top of the order. Thailand’s best was skipper Naruemol Chaiwai and the most consistent was Nannapat Koncharoenkai but even she was not at the top of her game. Fellow opener and star batter Natthakan Chantham top scored with 61, but 120 runs from 6 matches is not the sort of form one expects from this player.
There were moments of brilliance, such as Rosenan Kanoh‘s courage to get her team over the line against Pakistan and a fired up Diana Baig. However these moments were few and far between. One half century for the entire campaign and only player with a strike rate over 100. It’s an area Thailand will be keen to work on.
Most consistent bowler by far was Thipatcha Putthawong. She didn’t take a bag of wickets but in every game chipped away with one or two and topped the wicket count. She was second only to Sornnarin Tippoch in economy, making the teenager a great prospect for Thailand in the future if this is how she performs in a tournament of this quality.
Thailand’s leading wicket taker Nattaya Boochatham had a quiet tournament by her standards, picking up just 4 wickets. It’s a similar tale looking down the list of bowlers. Very few wickets taken and economy rates we’re not used to seeing with this team. It has been their trademark over the years.
Some very good catching on display by the Thai fielders but some of the ground fielding, particularly at times in the outer, was not of a level one comes to expect from this team. Indeed, the fielding in the deep was perhaps the best indicator that the team was a little short of match practice in the two tournaments they have played over the last month.
Thailand may look to review their lead-in to major tournaments. They played no international cricket for 12 months and then played back to back tournaments. They looked about 5% short of their normal form and it doesn’t take much at this level to loses cricket matches to teams that are in form and hungry for success.
The team has dropped out of the top ten of the ICC rankings – only 13th mind you – and that’s a manifestation of too little competitive cricket in 2022. Let’s look to see this team bounce back in 2023, as I’m sure they will.