Thailand women’s cricket team left their training camp in Chiang Mai and headed for Ireland on July 16 as they set off on an exciting journey to take part in the qualifying competition for the next Women’s World Twenty20.
The Thailand team’s last weekend in Chiang Mai saw them meet up with Asian Cricket Council Development Officer Venkatapathy Raju who played Tests and One-Day Internationals for India and was looking to give them as much last minute advice as he could.
The Thailand women’s team consists of Sornnarin Tippoch (captain), Nattaya Boochatham (vice-captain), Nanthanit Khoncan, Pundarika Prathanmitr, Ratanaporn Padunglerd, Nattakan Chantham, Chanida Sutthiruang, Sainnamin Saenya, Phira-On Khamla, Naruemol Chaiwai, Rattana Sangsoma, Premwadee Doungsin, Sirintra Saengsakaorat.
The Thai team enjoyed a pair of convincing victories against the boys’ team from CPP as they bowled out their young opponents for well under a hundred in both matches. Venkatapathy Raju took the ball himself so the girls could gain experience against his still highly respectable left-arm spin.
The opposition will be much tougher in Ireland where Thailand have been drawn in a group with Pakistan, Netherlands and Zimbabwe. Thailand’s first match on July 23 comes against Pakistan who have been preparing with a series of matches against England.
Pakistan are one of the favourites to win the competition, particularly as they have just beaten England in a T20 match, but Thailand will have the chance to play six matches in nine days against countries from around the world.
The other group is made up of Sri Lanka, who beat England and India during the last World Cup, along with hosts Ireland, Canada and Japan, and after the initial group stages the teams will be divided into Super Four and Plate competitions.
The last day of the competition on July 31 will see the teams play off for their final positions, with the two finalists and the winner of the third place play-off qualifying for the World Twenty20.
If Thailand can win a match early in the tournament and reach the Super Four, a place in the World Twenty20 could be within their reach. This would mean Thailand would be ranked in the world’s top ten and would soon be facing England or Australia. What an achievement that would be for Thailand’s women cricketers.
Thailand’s matches are as follows: July 23rd against Pakistan, 24th against the Netherlands, and the 26th against Zimbabwe. The 28th will see Super Four and Shield matches while the play offs are on the 31st.