Barras cruise through


PAPUA New Guinea are through to the next round of the ICC World T20 Qualifiers after finishing on top of the table at the East Asia-Pacific Region Qualifier A, regardless of today’s result against Vanuatu.
The Hebou PNG Barramundis have been undefeated so far at the qualifier, winning five from five since the opening game in Suva, Fiji, last Saturday.
The top two sides from the EAP A qualifier advance to a playoff series with the winners of the EAP B qualifier – one of Japan, Indonesia, South Korea or the Philippines.
Cricket PNG chief executive Greg Campbell said they would apply to the International Cricket Council to have that series played in Port Moresby in March.
The winner of that series then advances to the final qualifier for the 2020 World T20 in Australia.
The Barramundis played two games yesterday posting a seven-wicket win over Samoa in the morning fixture before thrashing Fiji by eight wickets in the afternoon game.
In the first game yesterday, Samoa batted first and openers Dominic Michael (83) and Uala Kaisala (69) put on a sparkling display of attacking cricket, scoring 43/0 in the power play.
PNG’s bowlers had no answers to some big hitting by the Samoan openers, who both got to their 50s in the 13th over, with Kaisala hitting a huge six to also help Samoa across the 100-run mark.
It wasn’t till the 17th over that the Barras could force a breakthrough — Chad Soper dismissing Kaisala for 69. Michael continued with 17 runs coming from the 18th over.
He was finally dismissed in the final over as Samoa finished with 175/4 off 20 overs.
PNG captain Assad Vala (65) and his deputy Charles Amini Jr (47 not out) scored the bulk of the runs in the chase with No.4 Lega Siaka (25) and paceman Norman Vanua (26) chipping in with a blistering cameos.
The victory against Samoa meant that PNG had already qualified for the next round of qualifiers, so a debut was handed to Steven Eno, who became the 119th Baggy Black.
The Barramundis made short work of the next match, producing an absolutely nightmarish spell of bowling for the Fiji batsmen.
Fiji were dismissed for just 31 with all-rounder Charles Amini Jr taking four wickets for one run with his leg spin.
On Monday, PNG posted their biggest total of the tournament 239/2 helped in no small part by skipper Vala’s 110 – the Barras’ second century of the qualifier after Tony Ura’s 120 last Saturday.
Vanuatu bravely started their run chase but could only manage 158 runs.
Patrick Matautaava scored some fantastic boundaries before he was dismissed by Jason Kila for a well-played 23. Youngster Nalin Nipiko grafted 84 runs but had little support.
Chad Soper bowled a magical 12th over, taking four wickets as Nipiko watched on, Vanuatu going from 85/4 to 85/7 in the space of five balls.
Match Summaries:
Mon, Aug 27
Game 4 – PNG 239/2 (A Vala 110, CJ Amini 61not out, T Ura 51; A Mansale 1-34, C Blake 1-50) Vanuatu 158 (N Nipiko 84, PK Matautaava 23; C Soper 4-22, J Kila 2-23, JB Reva 2-25). PNG won by 81 runs.
Tues, Aug 28
Game 5 – Samoa 175/4 (DP Michael 83, U Kaisala 69; JB Reva 2-23, C Soper 1-35) PNG 180/3 (A Vala 65, CJ Amini 47 not out, N Vanua 26, L Siaka 25). PNG won by 7 wickets.
Game 6 – Fiji 31 (PV Vuniwaqa 11, S Tuitoga 5, M Beitaki 4; CJ Amini 4-1, J Kila 2-13, N Vanua 1-3) PNG 35/2 (L Siaka 15, K Doriga 11) PNG won by 8 wickets, with 100 balls remaining.
Standings: PNG 10 (4.403), Vanuatu 4 (0.364), Fiji 4 (-2.358), Samoa 2 (-2.06).
Fixtures: Wed, Aug 29 – 1330 PNG v Vanuatu.