For Katherine Fraser, the summer of 2019 will always carry special meaning. Having made her international debut in June in Scotland’s win over Germany in La Manga, the off-spinner was named in Steve Knox’s squad for the Netherlands Quadrangular Series in August, where Scotland would meet the hosts, Thailand and Ireland as part of their preparations for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier in Dundee and Angus.
After defeat to Thailand in their opening match, Scotland had bounced back with a 5-run DLS win over the Netherlands and, most impressive of all, an 11-run triumph over Ireland for only the second time in their twenty-year history. Katherine had played her part in both victories, returning figures of 3 for 17 against the Dutch and 1 for 12 against the Irish; it was the second match against Thailand on 12 August, though, which would see the then-fourteen-year-old come into her own.
Scotland’s opponents went into the match in the hottest of form. Their eight-wicket win over the Netherlands the day before had established a new world record of seventeen consecutive wins, beating the previous best which had been set by Australia in the months between March 2014 and August 2015. High in both confidence and talent, Sornnarin Tippoch’s team would go on to book their place in the final stages of the Women’s T20 World Cup for the first time a month later.
Fielding first at the Sportpark Het Schootsveld in Deventer, Scotland captain Sarah Bryce’s decision to give the second over to her young spinner brought immediate dividends as, second ball, Natthakan Chantham was bowled for 9. Nannapat Koncharoenkai followed in the eighth over, caught behind by the skipper for 14, while the experienced all-rounder Nattaya Boochatham managed only 8 before offering a catch to Priyanaz Chatterji. In a stunning performance, Katherine had accounted for the first three wickets to end with 3 for 14, and with Hannah Rainey, Abbi Aitken-Drummond and Katie McGill following up with three more – Katherine crowning her day in the field with the catch that removed the dangerous Naruemol Chaiwai – Thailand’s innings closed on 123 for 7.
A similar total had proved to be a long way out of reach for the Scots in their first encounter, but this time the story would be very different. Despite the loss of Lorna Jack early in the reply, Sarah Bryce steered her side home with a nerveless half-century, her first in T20 Internationals. With two runs required from the final delivery, the wicketkeeper-batter pulled to the leg-side boundary to confirm a victory for Scotland by 5 wickets and, in due course, the runners-up spot in the final table.
For Katherine, it was a memorable day.
“It felt like a massive achievement to beat the Thai team after losing the first game to them and also to break their world record streak,” she recalled. “It was also an exhilarating match due to how close the game got and how our batters really fought to win us the match in the final few overs. Sarah Bryce performed brilliantly under pressure in that match-winning knock of 63 off 57 balls.
“The energy in the field during our bowling innings was really good as well,” she added. “I got my best ever international figures, and when I was bowling I had a lot of confidence and really backed myself to deliver.
“I was delighted to be able to contribute to a team victory.”
12 August 2019 at Deventer: Scotland 126 for 5 (SJ Bryce 63*, N Boochatham 2 for 22) beat Thailand 123 for 7 ( C Sutthiruang 35, KJG Fraser 3 for 14) by 5 wickets