The Cricket Association of Thailand has built up a close relationship with the Asian Cricket Council over the years, hosting close to twenty tournaments, and it is a notable milestone that the ACC Women’s Asia Cup T20 is being staged in Bangkok in 2016.
The Asia Cup for men has long been part of cricket history with some legendary battles staged between Asian cricket’s finest teams over the 50-over format. The Women’s Asia Cup was first played in 2004 and was staged four times in a 50-over format with India’s women winning all four competitions.
In keeping with its policy of promoting women’s cricket across Asia, the ACC took the decision to hold the Women’s Asia Cup in T20 format, to involve more countries and to hold the event in countries outside of the main Asian nations.
|Champions in China in 2014|
So in 2012 the Women’s Asia Cup saw eight countries at an event held in Guangzhou in China. India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh reached the semi-finals with India maintaining its perfect record in the Women’s Asia Cup by beating Pakistan in the final by 18 runs.
Bangkok 2016 will see another new format with six teams involved in a round robin league with the competition ending with the final held between the top two teams at the Asian Institute of Technology Ground on Sunday 4th December. A large crowd is expected, and the game will be televised by Star Sports.
India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka also took part in the ICC Women’s World T20 held in India earlier in the year while Bangladesh are the next ranked side in Asia as they also reached the World T20 by reaching the final of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier held in Bangkok last year.
|Thailand's women have beaten all other Asian Associates and Netherlands in Zimbabwe in recent years|
Hosts Thailand have reached the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier in both 2013 and 2015 by virtue of winning ACC tournaments in both 20 and 40-over formats and they recently won the ICC Asia World Cup Qualifier which was held in Hong Kong in October. Nepal narrowly lost both their matches with Thailand but finished in second place in the four-team event to qualify for this tournament.
The ACC Women’s Asia Cup T20 2016 will provide a feast of high quality women’s cricket to Bangkok with a rare opportunity for local audiences to watch the leading Asian teams in action and a great chance for the lower-ranked countries to test themselves against formidable opposition.
For hosts Thailand this is another important step forward in their cricket development as they will face India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, four teams who they will be competing against again in February 2017 when the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier is held in Sri Lanka.
COUNTRY BY COUNTRY
Ranked just outside the top eight in women’s cricket, Bangladesh have never qualified for the Women’s World Cup in 50-over format, but they been more successful in the Women’s World T20 as they won two matches out of four in 2014 when they hosted the event. Bangladesh visited Thailand last year to play in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier and won their first four matches to qualify for the main event in India. They were just defeated by Ireland in the final in an exciting last ball finish.
The strongest women’s team in Asia, India have won all five editions of the Women’s Asia Cup, winning the first four competitions held in 50-over format and then beating Pakistan in the final of the first ACC T20 event held in Guangzhou in 2012. India finished in fifth place in the recently concluded ICC Women’s Championship finishing their campaign with an impressive 3-0 series victory over West Indies. The Indians also had the opportunity of playing a three match T20 series against the current world champions. India’s ODI captain Mithali Raj is one of the most outstanding players in women’s international cricket.
Regular and welcome visitors to Thailand for various ACC women’s tournaments over the past decade, Nepal qualified for the Women’s Asia Cup T20 on account of their second place in the ICC Asia Women’s World Cup Qualifier held in Hong Kong. Nepal narrowly lost both their matches against Thailand but were still able to finish second in the competition by defeating China by four wickets in their last match. Nepal will be looking to turn the tables on hosts Thailand and also to test themselves against the strongest women’s sides in Asia.
|Double Asian Games gold-medallists in Korea|
The second ranked women’s team in Asia, Pakistan finished seventh in the ICC Women’s Championship and the team has benefitted greatly from playing regular competitive cricket over the last two years. The team has recently played a five match ODI series in New Zealand and their tour ended with a T20 International. Pakistan’s best performance in the Asia Cup came in the T20 version in 2012 when they lost in the final to India, and they showed what a dangerous side they can be by defeating India during the ICC Women’s World T20 in March 2016.
Runners up to India in the first four editions of the Women’s Asia Cup, Sri Lanka did not perform up to those standards in the ICC Women’s Championship where they finished eighth out of eight with only two wins in 21 matches. They have recently played a series against England on home soil but were unable to repeat the famous victory they had against the same opposition in the 2013 Women’s World Cup. Sri Lanka have also enjoyed success against both India and Pakistan in the Women’s World T20, and they can be a match for any side on their day.
Hosts Thailand confirmed their reputation as the leading side in mainstream ACC women’s tournaments by winning the last two competitions to give them a prized place in the last two ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifiers. Thailand were outstanding in Ireland in 2013 where they won the Shield competition but could not repeat the feat on home soil two years later. With a stronger side now available, the Thailand girls were back to their best in October as they won the ICC Asia World Cup Qualifier in Hong Kong to reach the main Women’s World Cup Qualifying event which will be held in Sri Lanka in February 2017. The Asia Cup will give the hosts the chance to gain more experience against other teams they will face in Colombo as Thailand look for a historic first win against a major women’s nation.
Filed November 24th, 2016