Day 2: THAILAND PREVAIL

Wanchana Uisuk hits out

Enterprising batting and disciplined bowling helped Thailand beat Iran by 195 runs at the Polo Grounds in Bangkok.

Put into bat, Thailand's openers Wanchana Uisuk and Arnab Chaudry were troubled at first by the pace and swing of left-arm seamer Abdolvahab Ebrahimpour but runs at the other end were easier to come by. 50 was passed in the seventh over and the diminutive Uisuk and burly Chaudhuri were able to play positively throughout. The batsmen were scoring at close to a run a ball and with the addition of wides, by the time both batsmen had made their 50s in the 21st over the score, Thailand were eyeing 250.

Iran's bowlers weren't poor, far from it. The batting of Thailand's openers was positive, their running intuitive and they found that even mishits fell short and wide of the fielders. It was their day.

Chaudhuri was dropped by long-on running in when on 75 but hundreds were there of the taking for both the openers as they passed 200 for the partnership. Uisuk was on 90 off 98 deliveries when he sliced Mansour Raeissi to cover, and Chaudhuri was on 78 off 86 when he was bowled by Tiredasht. Both had played some beautiful strokes.

Thailand's captain Shreyanshu Tewari powered his way to 45 off 30 deliveries (it wasn't pretty but it was effective) and though the rest of the batsmen all fell trying to force the pace, Thailand were delighted with their 283 when they went into lunch.

Mansour Raessi takes on Vihar Shah

Iran's (initially) helmetless openers Mansour Raeissi and Wasim Tiredasht showed plenty of fight and looked to hit over the top from the start but Thailand's opening bowlers Uisuk and Shah (Shah even smaller than Uisuk) didn't bowl a loose delivery in their 15-over spell. Uisuk curved the ball in to the right-handers, cramping them, and Shah simply put the ball on the spot time and time again.

If Brian Statham was 4 ft 8’, of Indian descent and enjoyed reincarnation fourteen years ago, he’d be Vihar Shah today. On the rare occasions Shah would be hit for four, and the Iranians tried to do so every ball, he’d simply come back with another peach of a delivery. He finished with 2-20 off seven overs and could easily have had more wickets.

Thailand's Supatrakul weaves a web

Throttled and haemorrhaging wickets, by the end of the 18th over, Iran already needed to score at over 10 an over. And they kept losing more wickets as Uisuk's and Shah's replacements in the attack kept Thailand firmly in control.

Thailand's captain catches the last Iran wicket

And when Abdolvahab Ebrahimpour was caught by Tewari at cover, Iran had been rather anticlimactically beaten. Thailand's comprehensive victory left their coach John Hottinger proud of his team but aware that "it's not how well you start a tournament it's how well you finish that matters. This was a great team effort by all the boys. They've worked very hard to get this good and we can go all the way."

John Hottinger takes his team through training

Thailand v Iran, Royal Bangkok Sports Club, Polo Ground
Toss won by Iran
THAILAND WON BY 195 RUNS
Thailand: 283 for 7 after 40 overs (A. Chaudhuri 78, W. Uisuk 90, S. Tewari 45; A. Ebrahimpour 3-35)
Iran: 88 off 30.3 overs (N. Supatrakul 3-9)

Man of the Match: Wanchana Uisuk (Thailand)

Filed December 15 2006