Papua New Guinea reach World Twenty20 qualifier
Papua New Guinea have confirmed their place as the East Asia Pacific representative in the qualifying tournament for the 2012 World Twenty20 with a 58 run win over Vanuatu at Port Moresby today.
Papua New Guinea won the toss and elected to bat first in front of a sizeable home crowd. Asad Vala and Tony Ura, the tournament's top two run scorers by some distance, started the innings with a 56 run partnership before Vala was out for 56. Ura then put on another 47 with Chris Amini before he too was out, having scored 48.
The second half of the innings saw some big hitting from Mahuru Dai (29 from 15 balls) and Jason Kila (35 from 21) to take the hosts to 195-5 from their 20 overs. Patrick Matautaava was the pick of the Vanuatu bowlers with 2-41.
Vanuatu started their run chase slowly, and were only on 36 when they lost their third wicket in the ninth over. The middle order tried to inject some impetus into the run chase, Patrick Matautaava clubbing 36 from 18 deliveries, but it was too little, too late and they could only reach 137-7 from their 20 overs, Joel Tom taking 3-31.
The third place play-off, also played today, saw Samoa pick up another win over Fiji, formerly one of the powerhouses of the region along with Papua New Guinea. A rapid innings of 67 from 35 balls by Faasao Mulivai took Samoa to 172-3, and they bowled Fiji out for 142 to win by 30 runs.
No surprised that Papua New Guinea won the tournament, as they've long been the top team in the region, but Fiji seem to be on a downward slide, with Vanuatu looking like replacing them as number two in the region.
The next outing for the four teams that played today will be the Pacific Games in New Caledonia in late August/early September. They will join the hosts as well as the Cook Islands and Tonga. The tournament will be a Twenty20 event for the first time, with Papua New Guinea looking to win yet another gold medal.