Malaysia's greater experience and competence led them to a 61-run win over Thailand in the final group match of the ACC Women's Tournament.

Aisha Ali's all-round performance steered Malaysia to victory

Malaysia recovered from a poor start to post 101, taking the game out of the reach of a happy but sometimes hapless Thai side. "The team surprise me sometimes with how much they can do," said Thailand's manager Shan Kader. "There's enough raw material there to beat Malaysia in the future. Today they were just too good for us."

Malaysia's recovery from 16 for 3 in the fifth over was due to the patient batting of their captain Arina Rahim and Aisha Ali. Rahim, a flight-sergeant in the Malaysian Air Force, outranks her nine armed-forces colleagues in the squad; the qualities she evinces even without her stripes mark her out as captaincy material. Her calm assurance and encouragement in between overs did much to ease the passage of 16-year old Aisha Ali who gradually grew in confidence and started to play some impressive shots in front of the wicket.

Malaysia's captain Arina Rahim

Following Rahim's dismissal with the score on 52, Ali and her fellow teenager Alessandra Shunmugam kept the momentum going and in the last thirteen overs of their innings, Malaysia almost doubled their score.

101 was always going to be a tough score to chase, especially by a team who haven't yet been through all the pages of the batting coaching-book or seen much of any cricket let alone any on television. Thailand just didn't have the strokes to keep the fielders busy.

"We tied with Nepal, who beat Hong Kong, and beat Thailand by a long way," said Arina Rahim. "We have youngsters who would fit into any team in the tournament and if we keep the momentum going, we're going to be competitive in the years ahead."

Malaysia v Thailand, Johor Cricket Academy

Thailand won the toss and elected to field
Malaysia: 101 for 8 off 30 overs (N. Sirisuwan 2-6, W. Chamgsamboon 2-13)
Thailand: 40 all out after 15.1 overs (W. Duraisingham 3-10, A. Ali 2-5, A. Shunmugam 2-8, R. Mohammad 2-2)


Filed July 16 2007