Thailand started their campaign to climb out of the ACC Challenge Division with a dominant win over combative Iran, beating the Gulf state by six wickets at the Traidhos Oval in Chiang Mai. It was a win set up by their bowlers, and though Iran themselves came back hard at Thailand, there was enough quality batting to get the home side through.

Iran won the toss and had first use of an excellent cricket, which had pace and bounce. Thailand's opening bowler Ziaul Hoque was unlucky, two edges going down for 4s. At the other end Rohit Jassal was bowling an excellent line and length, his four overs going for just two runs. Iran looked to have weathered the storm before first change Anowarul Islam broke through veteran Shirmohammed Balouchnezad's defences to have him trapped in front. And then the spinners got to work.

Kushal Shah, Noppon Senamontree spun their webs, Senamontree bowling the ball of the day to have Hossein Lashari bowled off-stump, by a delivery which pitched on leg. Thailand's fielders had several run-out chances, before captain Ryan Raina made one count. Abdolvahab Ebrahimpour hustled and harried his way to a defiant 18 before Hoque came back to have him yorked with the first ball of his second spell.

Thailand got off to a rapid start, Robert Raina going after anything short, but it was Rohit Jassal who caught the eye with a series of cultured strokes, an off-drive for 4 being the stroke of the day. Iran have that 'bit of mongrel' though and fought hard to the end, collecting three more wickets and taking the game five overs beyond lunch.

Thailand have shown they have the bowlers to cause any team in the competition problems, particularly on the Traidhos wicket which is so responsive to spin. If their batsmen can play out 50 overs, with Rohit Jassal as the foundation, they'll put up winning scores too.

The big match to determine who finishes top of Group A, against Singapore, is at the Traidhos (formerly Prem) Oval on Sunday.

Pictures by Danny Bowes

ACC Trophy Challenge 2012, Day 2:
Thailand v Iran at Prem Oval
Iran won the toss and chose to bat
Iran: 80 all out off 40.1 overs (K.Shah 3-10, N.Sennamontree 4-10)
Thailand: 83 for 4 after 21 overs
Man of the Match: Noppon Senamontree (Thailand)

Tournament page

Filed December 8th, 2012