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News

'We played cricket with happiness' - Thailand captain Chaiwai after defeating Pakistan at the Women's Asia Cup

Thailand head coach says the side will continue to play "aggressive" cricket irrespective of their opponents

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
06-Oct-2022
Naruemol Chaiwai and Natthakan Chantham added 42 runs for the third wicket in the chase  •  Asian Cricket Council

Naruemol Chaiwai and Natthakan Chantham added 42 runs for the third wicket in the chase  •  Asian Cricket Council

Thailand captain Naruemol Chaiwai felt that her side had fun and executed their well-thought-out plans to complete a four-wicket win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup in Sylhet. There are seven spots between the two sides in the ICC T20I rankings, making it a major upset, but Thailand's approach throughout the match was one of maturity.
"We are very happy with the win. Pakistan is a strong side. They are a top-class team," Chaiwai said after the match. "We played cricket with happiness. We wanted to have fun in the ground. As you saw, it came automatically."
She said that the difference between this win and the last two games was how they could execute their plans against Pakistan. She praised the bowlers for restricting their much stronger opponents to 116 for 5 in 20 overs.
"We went with our same plan as we had in the last two games," Chaiwai said. "We didn't execute them well in those games, but today we were more focused. The bowling and batting sides did pretty well. The bowlers bowled in the correct line and length. We also put the fielders in the right positions. Outfield was slow too so they couldn't hit the big shots."
Thailand hean coach Harshal Pathak credited the batters, particularly Player of the Match Natthakan Chantham. She anchored the innings with her 51-ball 61 that contained five fours and two sixes, her last six bringing up the half-century. He also thanked Rosenan Kanoh for holding her nerve against Diana Baig in the final over.
"The batters did the job, especially Nathakan who took the game till the end," Pathak said after the win. "She fell a bit short but she set up the game. It was very well finished by Rose. Her contribution was very important. She finished the game at a crucial stage against a world-class bowler. It is very heartening for me as a coach that we have been preparing for these situations. We are slowly coming up.
"I believe that we are sticking to the plans and looking to execute them, which will take us forward. Right now we are able to do it about three to four times in ten games. As a coach, I am looking at seven to eight times."
Pakistan opener Sidra Ameen, who scored 56 in 64 balls in the first innings, was visibly upset at the press conference, but didn't want to give up on all the confidence that her side had gathered in their victories in the first two games of the Asia Cup.
"It is an upset for us," Ameen said. "Our efforts weren't enough in the way we played. They deserved the win. We didn't bat according to the plan. We were short by 10-20 runs. We didn't also bowl in the right areas. They batted well, so credit goes to them.
"Ups and downs are a part of life as a player. Definitely we as a unit are hurt. But, we are looking towards the upcoming matches. We have two or three matches left so we can bounce back."
Thailand coach Pathak said that his side will always look to play aggressively regardless of the opposition, and is hopeful that they can pull off bigger results in the future with this approach.
"Sometimes it comes off, sometimes it doesn't. The more we try to play this type of cricket, we will be able to get mastery in it over time," Pathak said. "As long as we have the intent to play aggressive cricket, that's very important. The competition gives you the happiness."
Pathak didn't quite give up hope of a last-four finish, but was more inclined to look into the next game against UAE. "We have matches left against UAE, Malaysia and India. We will look to play good cricket. We set up the match really well today. The powerplay was very important. I think matches are going to be won in the powerplays on this ground. The smarter team is going to do well over here."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84