Zimbabwe sneak home in a thriller as Nannapat Koncharoenkai's knock goes in vain
Zimbabwe team in a huddle. ©Zimbabwe Cricket
Zimbabwe overcame a massive collapse to pull off a heist thanks to some lower order heroics in the first T20I in the three-match series against Thailand in Harare to register their 15th consecutive win in the format. Zimbabwe were cruising to a win with 33 runs needed with eight wickets in hand when Thailand induced a collapse and kept themselves in the game taking six wickets for just eight runs. Earlier, the visitors recovered from a stutter with the help of fantastic knock from Nannapat Koncharoenkai.
In the chase, Zimbabwe lost an early wicket in the form of Ashley Ndiraya with Nattaya Boochatham trapping her in front of the wicket for a duck. Modester Mupachikwa and Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano steadied their innings with the later playing the role of the aggressor.
After Mupachikwa found the first boundary of the innings in the third over, Mugeri-Tiripano took on Thailand bowlers hitting two boundary each of Sornnarin Tippoch and Ratanaporn Padunglerd. Just as it looked like she would take the game away from the visitors, Onnicha Kamchomphu stuck for Thailand as she had Mugeri-Tiripano stumped by Koncharoenkai for a run-a-ball 30. Even though she lost her partner, Mupachikwa switched the gears to hit a couple of boundaries to take the score to 72 in the 13th over.
Once Suleeporn Laomi removed Mupachikwa for 29, Zimbabwe suffered a collapse as they lost the wicket of skipper Mary-Anne Musonda when she became Kamchomphu’s second victim and Laomi stuck again to send Precious Marange back for just one.
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From there, it went from bad to worse for the hosts when they lost Josephine Nkomo to a run out before Kamchomphu removed Loryn Phiri for a first ball duck. With the loss of Christabel Chatonzwa to Boochatham, Zimbabwe's free fall continued as they went from 72 for two to 80 for eight - losing six wickets for just eight runs - and seemed to be on their way to a loss.
However, Zimbabwe found an unlikely hero in Chiedza Dhururu as she added 23 crucial runs with Nomvelo Sibanda with a 16-ball 15 - including two consecutive fours off Ratanaporn Padunglerd. More twists and turns followed when Dhururu became Boochatham's third wicket with them needing just two runs from eight balls. Zibanda played two dot balls before a boundary in the third ball of the final over game Zimbabwe a thrilling win leaving Thailand disappointed.
Put into bat by the hosts, Thailand lost Boochatham for just one when she was caught by Sibanda off Nkomo in the second over. Coming in at number three, Koncharoenkai started fluently with a couple of boundaries off Nkomo while Natthakan Chantham struggled at the other end. They were 20 for one at the end of the power play.
In the seventh over, Audrey Mazvishaya ended Chantham’s struggle to castle her for six off 19 balls. Introduction of off-spinner Chatonzwa saw Thailand slip into deeper troubles as she accounted for Onnicha Kamchomphu and skipper Naruemol Chaiwai in consecutive deliveries for a single run between them. Thailand were reeling at 29 for four at this stage from 8.3 overs.
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However, Koncharoenkai didn’t let the flurry of wickets at the other end affect her and found an able partner in Chanida Sutthiruang. Koncharoenkai immediately responded by hitting Chatonzwa and Mazvishaya for one boundary each. Sutthiruang at the other end was happy to play the second fiddle and kept rotating the strike before hitting her first boundary off Chatonzwa in the 12th over.
From there, the duo managed to keep the scoreboard ticking and brought up their fifty partnership when Sutthiruang hit Mazvishaya for a four. In the same over, Koncharoenkai smashed a boundary and then took a single to reach to her second fifty in T20Is from 46 balls. She scored 12 more runs from the next seven deliveries she faced to take Thailand over the three-figure mark as Zimbabwe failed to make anymore dents to the visitors’ batting line-up.
Koncharoenkai and Sutthiruang’s 75-run unbeaten partnership meant Thailand finished their innings on 104 for four from their 20 overs. For Zimbabwe, Chatonzwa was the most successful bowler with figures of two for 18 from her three overs.
Brief Scores: Thailand 104/4 in 20 overs (Nannapat Koncharoenkai 62*, Chanida Sutthiruang 33; Christabel Chatonzwa 2/18) lost to Zimbabwe 107/9 in 19.3 overs (Chipo Mugeri-Tiripano 30, Modester Mupachikwa; Onnicha Kamchomphu 3/18, Nattaya Boochatham 3/18) by one wicket