PNG win a thriller and move through to the final
ICC Media Release
Papua New Guinea won an enthralling third round match against hosts Japan by three wickets on Day 3 of the Pepsi ICC EAP Women's Cricket Trophy 2010 in Sano, Japan.
In extremely hot conditions, Japan captain Ema Kuribayashi won the toss and elected to bat first against the highly-fancied PNG team. It got off to a poor start, with opener Kamota falling for a duck, before Ema Kuribayashi and young gun Mariko Yamamoto came together and built a superb partnership, ending on 73 when Mariko was dismissed for a well-made 20.
Katrina Keenan then strode to the crease, and played another patient and disciplined innings, combining well with Kuribayashi to take the score along to 130-2 before Kuribayashi fell to an excellent outfield catch for a valuable 54.
As good teams always do, PNG began to lift its intensity, and fought back well in tough conditions to grab the remaining seven wickets for just 25 runs and dismiss Japan in the final over for 155.
With a competitive total on the board, and with the reliable Kuribayashi and Keenan on the field, Japan was looking confident of causing an upset over the reigning EAP Women's champions.
PNG began superbly in its chase for 156 runs and automatic qualification into the final, with experienced pair Mabel Ipi and Norma Ovasuru putting together an outstanding 40-run opening stand.
Japan needed a change of pace, and that came in the form of skipper Ema Kuribayashi, who took two wickets for no runs with her offspin to change the match in favour of the Japanese.
While wickets fell consistently through the middle of the innings, Norma Ovasuru continued to compile runs, however when Ovasuru and Ruma were dismissed in quick succession, Japan was well on top.
With 37 required and three wickets in hand, the game was in the balance, but the PNG lower order performed brilliantly under pressure, with Siaka (29 not-out) and Morea (10 not-out) steering the team home, despite tight bowling from Keenan and Atsuko Suda.
With two required for victory, Siaka advanced down the wicket to a Kuribayashi off-spinner, driving it hard down the ground for a resounding victory.
Japan and Samoa will now face-off in the preliminary final tomorrow, with the winner to meet Papua New Guinea in the final on Friday.