THE PNG Under-19 national cricket team – Garamuts – have confirmed their place at the 2011 U19 Cricket World Cup in Christchurch, New Zealand, after claiming their fifth victory at the World Cup qualifiers in Toronto, Canada, yesterday.
They beat off a spirited effort from Melanesian neighbours Vanuatu, who put on a competitive total of 193 all out in the first innings.
PNG reached the target (5-195) in the 40th over.
The five-wicket win gives PNG a guaranteed top four finish alongside Ireland, Afghanistan and USA, while two remaining slots at the 10-nation tournament are still up for grabs with hosts Canada, Netherlands and Hong Kong in a three-way dogfight for them.
In the match against Vanuatu, legspinner Charles Amini Jr tweaked his way to a personal best and man-of-the-match performance collecting 4-32.
Vanuatu’s top order set the tone early for an extended stay with openers Lazaro Carlot (40) and Worford Kalowari (33) seeing off the new ball before Carlot edged Garamuts skipper John Reva and the rot set in.
Middle order hitters Niko Unavalu (29) and Patrick Matautaava (29) righted the ship with a fiery display.
Matautaava’s 29 came off just 16 balls and included three sixes.
In reply, Garamuts’ top order of Heni Siaka (23), Lega Tau (36), Sese Bau (36), Tony Ura (27) and Vagi Oala (31 not out) got in some valuable crease time ahead of tougher encounters with the USA today, Afghanistan tomorrow and the Netherlands on Sunday.
In the other result from yesterday, USA defeated Netherlands by 33 runs.