Dubai: Emerging cricket nation Papua New Guinea created history by booking their maiden appearance in any ICC tournament bu qualifying for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
PNG first defeated Kenya by 45 runs in a thrilling morning match on Sunday and the failure of Netherlands to then beat Scotland in 12.3 overs of their chase meant PNG could book their
tickets to the premier event Down Under.
PNG were 19 for six against Kenya after an early collapse within four overs, and at the time, it seemed they had blown their opportunity to secure automatic qualification. However, led by Norman Vanua’s fighting 48-ball 54, PNG recovered to post 118 in 19.3 overs.Then, it was up to the bowlers. Kenya had Irfan Karim scoring a 22-ball 29, and that meant they were 40/1 after the Powerplay. However, the slide began. There were only two more scores that reached double digits: Collins Obuya made a 19-ball 10, and Aman Gandhi fought to a 25-ball 14*.
Assad Vala returned a brilliant 3/7, and Nosaina Pokana provided superb support with his 3/21. Kenya were bundled out for 73 in 18.4 overs, and having done their bit, the PNG players waited in anticipation for the Netherlands result. The Dutch won by four wickets, but it wasn’t sufficient on the day.
Earlier, Ireland had on Saturday sealed their spot in the World T20 with an eight-wicket win over Nigeria. Their status was also dependent upon the result of the match between Oman and Jersey. A victory for Oman would have meant the end of Ireland’s hopes but Jersey beat them by 14 runs.
The PNG players celebrated wildly in the stadium’s terraces and their Australian coach Joe Dawes was overwhelmed. “I am feeling a little emotional,” former Queensland bowler Dawes told the global governing body ICC. “It’s been a pretty big two years, for them to achieve this is pretty special.” Dawes said planning for next year’s tournament could wait. “We are just going to enjoy the moment. For them to achieve this is a great thing for us and for the nation,” he added.