Thursday 31st January 2013 was a historic day for cricket in Thailand as the women’s national team held off the previously unbeaten Chinese by 17 runs in the final of the ACC Women’s Championship at the Royal Chiang Mai Golf Club to lift the prestigious trophy.
Thailand’s girls will now have the chance to travel to Ireland to play in the qualifying tournament where they will lock horns with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Japan and a team from Africa for a chance to take part in the next Women’s World Twenty20 finals.
Thai captain Sornnarin Tippoch accepts her player of the tournament award during the closing ceremony.
This all seemed highly unlikely at the start of the tournament’s final day as an overnight storm had swept across Chiang Mai, but the match was moved from Prem Oval to Royal Chiang Mai and this proved to be a fitting stage for a triumphant day for Thailand, with a large and enthusiastic crowd in attendance.
Tippoch was the first player in the tournament’s history to score a century.
The Thai team was asked to bat first and they were struggling at 46 for five against a testing Chinese bowling attack when captain Sornnarin Tippoch was joined out in the middle by Chanida Sutthiruang. Suddenly a precarious position of was converted into a more than useful total of 95 for six. Sornnarin played the sheet anchor role with an unbeaten 28 and Chanida contributed a lusty 17 to a partnership of 40 in six overs.
Thai players celebrate taking a wicket against China in the final.
When it was Thailand’s turn to field, Chanida dismissed both openers in her first over and China were 0 for 2 and then 5 for 5. The Chinese were unbeaten so far in the tournament with six wins out of six but they were now surely heading for defeat. Huang Zhuo did her best until she was out for 30 in the last over but Thailand were able to secure victory by 17 runs as China were bowled out for 78 in 24.4 overs.
The presentations were a joyous occasion as Sornnarin Tippoch lifted the trophy and also won the player of the tournament award for 13 wickets and 186 runs as well as becoming the first player to score a century in ACC women’s cricket, her 108 not out coming against Singapore in an earlier group match.
Chanida Sutthiruang was named player of the final for her 17 runs and bowling figures of 3 for 6 and was also voted the bowler of the tournament with 18 wickets overall. China’s Zhang Mei was the batter of the tournament with 269 runs.
Iran won the Spirit of Cricket Award for their contribution on and off the field to a memorable competition that will be long remembered in Thailand. Chiang Mai had proved itself as the perfect venue for international cricket at this level with three contrasting grounds and the ability to organize a well-run tournament with 11 teams from across Asia.