Thailand women 105 for 6 (Chaiwai 43) beat Sri Lanka women 104 (Sanjeewani 32, Liengprasert 5-12) by four wickets
Already, the 2018 Women's Asia Cup T20 has thrown up a number of surprises. If Bangladesh, coached by former India wicketkeeper Anju Jain, beating India for the first time was huge, Thailand's victory over Sri Lanka may herald a new lease of life to women's cricket in the country. Their four-wicket win off the last ball in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday was their first ever against a Full Member, the result all the more incredible because Thailand don't even have international status yet and because they were, incidentally, coached by a Sri Lankan, Janak Gamage.
Offspinner Wongpaka Liengprasert justified the captain's call to bowl first by taking 5 for 12 as Sri Lanka were bowled out for 104, of which openers Yasoda Mendis and Anushka Sanjeewani made 54. Eight others recorded single-digit scores in an innings that featured three stumpings and three run-outs. The only other notable contribution came from Oshadi Ranasinghe, who was unbeaten on 20.
Liengprasert picked up her first three wickets in successive overs - the 10th, 12th and 14th of the innings. She then removed top scorer Sanjeewani for 32 in the 17th to reduce Sri Lanka to 93 for 7. Sornnarin Tippoch picked up the two other wickets to fall.
In three previously completed innings in the tournament, Thailand hadn't scored more than the 67 for 8 they made in the tournament opener against Pakistan. So to chase down 105 against the four-time runners up was always going to be a tall order.
But they started well. The openers put on 43 runs in 7.5 overs, and another 34 were added for the second wicket. When Naruemol Chaiwai fell after updating her top score in the tournament from 20 not out to 43, Thailand were 77 for 2. For most sides, this may have been a cruise, but for an inexperienced outfit not exposed to top-flight cricket, needing 28 off 29 balls, even with eight wickets in hand, wasn't going to be straightforward.
Another wicket fell four deliveries later, in the 16th over, to turn this into a battle of nerves. Nattaya Boochatham, the No. 3, batted till the penultimate over to make 19, before being dismissed.
With Thailand needing six off the final over, they lost the wicket of Tippoch, but weren't going to be denied. Liengprasert, who did all the damage with the ball, kept her composure to make a crucial 13 off 9 balls to clinch a famous win.