Thailand won their country's first gold medal for cricket at the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur as the Thai girls beat Indonesia by 23 runs in the final of the women's 20-over competition. Thailand were made to work hard for their medal by newcomers Indonesia as the Thais scored 109 for 7 in 20 overs. Both Indonesian openers were dismissed for ducks but Andriani played well for 46 and it needed an outstanding spell of 4 for 16 by Wongpaka Liengprasert to bring home the gold.
This is the first time that cricket has been held at the SEA Games and so a gold medal for the sport is another important step forward for the development of cricket in Thailand. The Thai news channels were suddenly interested and a mass of people were asking ‘what is cricket’ on social media. The Bangkok Post even noted that the women’s final had contested by two countries not colonialized by the British!
There was disappointment for the men as they lost to Indonesia by 4 wickets in the play-off for the bronze medal in the men's 20 over competition. A total of 96 for 7 rarely wins a T20 match and so it proved as the big-hitting Indonesians went for their shots and won with two overs to spare. Thailand’s younger players are more suited to the longer form of the game and they deserved their bronze medal in 50 over cricket.
Both men’s and women’s Thailand teams have flourished when given the opportunity to take part in a major international event and they will be hoping for many more such chances in the future.