Barras on a mission


THE stakes are high for the PNG Barramundis as they prepare for the World Cricket League tournament in Namibia next month.
Coach Joe Dawes side are not just playing for a spot at the 2023 (50-over) World Cup but more importantly to reclaim their One Day International status as well as the increased funding that comes with the rise in world ranking.
PNG’s chances of qualifying for next year’s T20 World Cup are good as well with Cricket PNG managing the side’s efforts on two fronts.
Cricket PNG general Lee McDowell, pictured, commended the national side for their dominant form in the East Asia-Pacific T20 final last week but said the focus was now firmly on Namibia.
“In the end it was an impressive series win by the Barras who dominated with both bat and ball,” McDowell said.
“The East Asia-Pacific final win puts us through to the Global T20 World Cup qualifier in October in Dubai (United Arab Emirates where the top six in that tournament earn a place in the T20 World Cup in Australia 2020.
“We believe our chances are very good to reach our first senior World Cup which would be huge not only cricket but PNG in general.
“The coaching staff and playing group have worked hard for this opportunity.
“We can see the end goal is in reach and we must take our chance.
“Like all sport, luck may play a part.
“But we know we have done everything possible to achieve success.”
McDowell said the Barras had shaken off the rust last week playing four T20s against Vanuatu and the Philippines after a three-month period of inactivity but they understood that their opposition would be better in Africa.
“Now we turn our focus to the 50-over format in preparation for our World Cricket League division two tournament in Namibia next month where if we finish in the top four of a six-team tournament, we achieve our one-day international status,” he said.
“This would guarantee us plenty of international cricket over the next three years including hosting more international tournaments.”
McDowell added that the Cricket PNG would also standing to receive a significant increase in annual funding from the International Cricket Council should they do well in the coming tournament.
In related news, Vanuatu stayed back after the EAP T20 final to play a practice 50-over game on Monday which PNG won comfortably by eight wickets, chasing 217 with 10 overs to spare and Assad Vala unbeaten on 106.
The team is now preparing to travel next week to Pretoria, South Africa, where they will play practice matches and train at altitude to get the players acclimatised before arriving in Windhoek, Namibia, to begin the tournament running April 20-27.
Barramundis: Assad Vala (captain), Tony Ura, Charles Amini Jr (vc), Anthony Vare, Lega Siaka, Sese Bau, Norman Vanua, Kipling Doriga, Chad Soper, Nosaina Pokana, Damian Ravu, John Boge Reva, Simon Atai, Jason Kila
Fixtures: Sat, April 20 – Namibia v PNG; Sun, April 21 – PNG v Hong Kong; Tues, April 23 – PNG v USA; Wed, April 24 – PNG v Canada; Fri, April 26 – PNG v Oman

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