Papua New Guinea today booked their place in both the 2019 Women’s World T20 Qualifier, and the 2020 Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier. Winning through a de facto eliminator against Samoa, the Lewas were able to repeat their triumph in this event 2 years ago in emphatic fashion – where they only qualified on run rate last time, today they thumped their closest rivals by 7 wickets with 20 balls remaining after both sides were unbeaten going into the final day.
PNG skipper Kaia Arua started her player-of-the-match performance by calling correctly at the toss, and was quickly justified in her decision to send in the Samoans. She took the crucial catch of her opposite number, Samoa captain Regina Lili’i, which made opening seamer Ravina Oa the first bowler to dismiss her in 5 innings. The tournament’s leading runscorer by some margin (ending on 153, well clear of second-placed Yulia Anggraeni from Indonesia on 104), Lili’i was always the key for Samoa with the bat, and losing her for just 4 immediately put Samoa on the back foot.
Next, Arua brought herself on and ended a mini-recovery from Lily Mulivai and Feala Pula. Their 31-run alliance was smashed as Arua’s left-arm wrist spin drew Mulivai out of her crease for a stumping, before Pula was deceived and handed a catch to Sibona Jimmy. Her replacement Lagi Telea was then castled as Arua completed her demolition of the middle order and moved to the top of the tournament wicket tally with 12; the 3/9 today an impressive follow-up to her 5/7 against Japan yesterday. Taofi Lafai provided some late hitting for Samoa with 14* off 12, but the damage was done and they could only limp to 82/6 off their 20 overs.
The Kaia Arua show then continued with the bat. PNG were wobbling at 9/2 when Tanya Ruma departed for a duck in the 3rd over, but Arua dug in with a stubborn 27 (51), playing support to wicketkeeper Brenda Tau, whose breezy 32* (30) saw the Lewas home.
With PNG progressing to the next round of qualifying, Arua was quick to praise what she described as a team effort in making it out of their region: “It’s very emotional, a dream come true. We always wanted to win here because it’s the next step in qualifying for the T20 and 50-over World Cups, so I thought we did well. It didn’t happen with just one person, but it was the whole team working together and I am very proud of the team.”
In the morning games, home side Vanuatu ended their campaign with another crowd-pleasing victory as they trounced Japan, while Indonesia concluded their impressive debut at ICC Women’s events with a second victory to keep Fiji winless.
After her steady knock guided the hosts to victory with the bat yesterday, Nasimana Navaika turned in another crowd-pleasing performance today, this time with ball in hand. Bowling legspin, Navaika tore through Japan’s middle order with a career-best 4/15 and was on a hattrick in the 11th over. While she didn’t complete that milestone, she did help keep the Japanese to just 94/9 off their 20 overs – a total the Ni-Vanuatu had no trouble chasing.
Possessing by far the best strike-rate of the tournament, opener Valenta Langiatu got her side off to a flyer as she thumped 6 boundaries (more than the entire Japanese innings) on her way to 35 from 24 balls. With a start like that, her opening partner Rachel Andrew (31* off 40) and Vanuatu captain Selina Solman (23* off 24) were content to play more circumspect innings once Langiatu departed, chipping away at the now-comfortable chase in singles. The pair closed out the 9-wicket victory with 33 balls to spare.
On the other side of Independence Park, new girls Indonesia showed their potential with a clinical 8-wicket drubbing of the hapless Fiji, keeping the iTaukei winless throughout what has been a disappointing tournament for them.
After winning the toss and electing to field, Indonesia’s bowlers put in a comprehensive team performance, with every bowler claiming at least one wicket. Edenyce Eduard collected 3/10 to go with her 3/9 against Vanuatu yesterday, while Netty Sitompul snared the player-of-the-match award with an impressive 3/6 off 3.4 overs. Fiji skipper Ruci Muriyalo briefly resisted with 20 (22), but found little support from her colleagues.
Skittled for just 69, Fiji were always going to have an uphill task defending their total; a steady pair of 20s from opener Yulia Anggraeni (22 off 23) and number three Anak Bastari (26* off 24) saw Indonesia comfortably home with 8 wickets and 51 balls to spare. However, Fiji did themselves no favours by conceding 12 extras (including 11 wides). If they’re to improve their performances in future regional appearances, discipline with the ball is a key area of concern.
Scores in brief:
Fiji 69 off 19.4 overs (Muriyalo 20, Sitompul 3/6) lost to Indonesia 73/2 off 11.3 overs (Bastari 26*, Muriyalo 1/8) by 8 wickets with 51 balls remaining.
Japan 94/9 off 20 overs (Oda 19, Navaika 4/15) lost to Vanuatu 95/1 off 14.3 overs (Langiatu 35, Endo 1/5) by 9 wickets with 33 balls remaining.
Samoa 82/6 off 20 overs (Pula 23, Arua 3/9) lost to Papua New Guinea 83/3 off 16.4 overs (Tau 32*, Iosefo 1/19) by 7 wickets with 20 balls remaining.
Images courtesy of ICC.