Sylhet [Bangladesh], October 4 (ANI): Half-century from opener Harshitha Samarawickrama and top bowling spells from Achini Kulasuriya and Sugandika Kumari helped Sri Lanka clinch their second win in the Women's Asia Cup 2022 after defeating Thailand by 49 runs at Sylhet on Tuesday.
With this win, Sri Lanka is at third position in the table with four points and two wins in three games. On the other hand, Thailand is at the second-last spot in the table with no wins in both of their matches.
Sri Lanka hit 156/5 in their 20 overs, with opener Samarawickrama smashing 81 off just 69 balls. Thipatcha Putthawong (2/26) was the most prolific bowler for Thailand in the match. Chasing 157, Thailand did not look threatening for the most part. Chanida Sutthiruang top-scored with 37 but it was not enough to help her side win the match as they fell 49 runs short. Thailand finished at 107/5 in 20 overs. Achini Kulasuriya (2/19) was the pick of the bowlers for SL.
Chasing 157, Natthakan Chantham's stumps were dislodged by medium-pacer Kulasuriya when she was at 7. Thailand was at 20/1 at that point.
Opener Nannapat Koncharoenkai and captain Naruemol Chaiwai attempted to rebuild the innings after an early hiccup. At the end of powerplay, Thailand was at 37/1 in six overs, with Chaiwai (6) and Koncharoenkai (23).
Their short 21-run stand was broken by spinner Inoka Ranaweera, who trapped Koncharoenkai leg before wicket for 25 off 21 balls.
Chanida Sutthiruang was the next batter in and she joined her skipper Chaiwai. The duo helped Thailand cross the fifty-run mark and gave them some hope of winning the match. Spinner Kavisha Dilhari's arms did the job, casting Chaiwai for just 19 off 25 balls, leaving Thailand at 77/3 in 13.4 overs.
After this, Thailand just could not recover from these three losses. Sutthiruang tried to keep one end steady but Sutthiruang (0) and Phannita Maya (5) fell, leaving Thailand at 89/5 in 17 overs.
Sutthiruang swung her bat as much as she could to finish the innings at 107/5, with her unbeaten at 37 off 42 balls. Rosenan Kanoh (6) was unbeaten on the other end too, but they both fell 49 runs short of a win.
Achini Kulasuriya (2/19) had the best outing for Sri Lanka with the ball. She did not only take wickets, but also chocked Thailand's run flow. Ranaweera (1/19), Dilhari (1/20) and Kumari (1/14) partnered well with Kulasuriya to deliver economic spells that allowed Thailand to barely cross the 100-run mark.
Earlier, electing to bat first, captain Chamari Athapaththu and Samarawickrama gave Sri Lanka a fantastic start. The skipper was anchoring the innings, giving strike to her partner consistently and having a good view of her aggressive batting from non-strikers end.
Spinner uleeporn Laomi delivered the breakthrough to Thailand, dismissing Athapaththu for 12 off 18 balls and breaking the opening stand of 63 runs. Hasini Perera (6) was run out three overs later, leaving SL at 78/2 in 11.3 overs.
Then Samarawickrama was joined by Nilakshi de Silva. The duo punished Thailand bowling with some fine shots and found gaps with ease. Samaawickrama brought up her fifty. The 61-run stand between the duo was over when spinner Nattaya Boochatham castled Samarawickrama's stumps, sending her back for 81 off 69 balls. This knock consisted of 10 intelligently-placed boundaries.
Sri Lanka was 139/3 in 18.2 overs. Then, Putthawong clinched two quick wickets of Oshadi Ranasinghe (1) and Kaushani Nuthyangana (0) in the final over. De Silva ended Sri Lanka's innings on a good note with a six on the final delivery, taking her side to 156/5 in 20 overs. She finished unbeaten at 39 off 21 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Putthawong (2/26) last over strikes did affect Lanka's run-rate in the final over, but it was not worth the worry for Lankans in a larger picture. Laomi and Boochatam also took a wicket each.
Samarawickrama's knock earned her the 'Player of the Match' title. (ANI)