India ends the Group League campaign with a stunning 9-wicket win over Thailand

The Indian bowlers barely broke a sweat to sack Minnows Thailand for a paltry 37 before ending runs in just six overs with nine wickets in hand and leading the seven-team group league in the women’s Asia Cup.

The overwhelming victory was India’s fifth win in six games, with the only loss coming in a goalless game against arch-rivals Pakistan. India have 10 points from six games and are expected to join Pakistan, Sri Lanka and one of Thailand and Bangladesh in the semifinals. Bangladesh have one game left and they just need to win it to enjoy a better net run rate (+0.423 after 5 games) against Thailand (-0.949 in 6 games).

When substitute skipper Smriti Mandhana won the draw, she didn’t hesitate to put Thailand on bat and from there it became an ordeal for the inexperienced Thai women.

The gap in the class was so wide that Thailand could only manage 37 heats before coming by in 16th. The only batsman to hit double digits was Nannapat Koncharoenkai (12) as the second-highest score was 7 from Nattaya Boochatham. In fact, Nannapat and Natthakan Chantham’s (6) opening tally was the highest at 13 runs as the wickets fell like nine pins as India got to draw first blood.
Predictably, off-break bowlers Deepti Sharma (2/10) and Sneh Rana (3/9) choked the runflow and were duly helped by left-arm spinner Rajeshwari Gayakwad (2/8). Meghna Singh also played with a wicket while Pooja Vastrakar was the only one not to go without a wicket. However, Vastrakar (12 not out) was sent up to No. 3 to get some batting time under her belt as she joined opener S Meghana (20 not out) to beat runs in just six overs.

“A big thank you to all the girls who made my 100th T20 International special,” substitute skipper Mandhana said after the match.

“I wouldn’t say weaker opponents and Thailand played good cricket, but our bowlers really didn’t give them a chance,” Mandhana praised her bowling session. Player of the Match Sneh Rana said: “A win like this boosts confidence and we would definitely do well in the semi-finals.”

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