TAORA women have booked the first grand final spot after a gutsy four-wicket victory over undefeated United outfit on Saturday at Rules Grounds.
United, the runaway minor premiers were in all sorts of stride and lost the one game that mattered most this season.
On the other hand, Taora who were 5th on ladder came out aggressively catching United by surprise to win the match and a place in the final.
After winning the toss, United decided to bat first and their decision back-fired immediately when PNG opener Gari Mea was run out for a duck with only one run on the scoreboard.
Ura Rigana (10) and Lucy Ovia (16) then put a brave 23 together before Rigana was dismissed.
Ovia followed soon with the score at three for 36 in the 15th over drinks break and Taora sensed an upset was on the cards.
However, Koita Seura (15) and topscorer Loi Koava (21) contributed a handy partnership to put United back in the game with a defendable target of 97 runs. United finished at eight for 96 runs from their compulsory 30 overs.
Bowling honours’ for Taora were shared by Isabel Kari (1/17 off six overs), Initui Tarabu (1/16 off six overs) while Bede Morea was impressive with figures of 3/15 from four overs.
Taora’s run chase started off badly when last weekend’s hero Bede Morea (2) was out LBW in the second over but handy partnerships and contributions from Mebo Ipi (15), Isabel Kari (16) and Hane Sereva (18 not out) proved enough to get Taora home in a heart-stopper which could have gone either way.
At one stage, United fought back when Taora were cruising at three for 83 runs in the 24th over, needing 14 runs from nearly 30 balls to take three wickets in quick session.
The pressure was relieved when Sereva and Doura Solok managed to score few singles and couple of wides from the United bowlers proved costly when Taora only required three runs to win in the last over.
Bowling options for United were then limited so Gari Mea was called in to bowl her first over which she understandably started off with a wide.
She compensated well with her next three balls which were not scored off and when she picked up the wicket of Solok in her 4th delivery, United had a slim hope of pulling it out of the fire with two runs still required from two balls.
Taora sent tailender Konio Rei Lohia to thepich she got the Taora crowd on their feet when she struck a boundary to earn Taora a grandfinal appearance for the third time.