PNG to host EAP tourney

Main Stories, Sports

The National – Thursday, June 16, 2011

THE ICC East-Asia Pacific office yesterday announced the fixtures for the upcoming ICC (International Cricket Council) EAP Division 1 cricket tournament to be held in Port Moresby from July 4-10.
The winner of this event will advance to the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup qualifier in the UAE scheduled for next March which will be the final stage of qualifying for the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka later next year.
The ICC  selected PNG to host the region’s major tournament on their EAP schedule.
This event will see the PNG Hebou Barramundi’s defending their title as EAP champions on home soil as well as fighting for  one spot which will go to the winners for a berth at the T20 World Cup qualifier s in Dubai, UAE.
The Barramundis (ranked 19 in the world) enter the tournament as favourites.
As T20 regional champions a full strength Barramundi’s will be defending the title won in Samoa in 2009.
Following the T20 component of the tournament each team will participate in a series of limited overs matches.
These matches will not contribute to qualification for any future tournaments.
The 50-over matches are designed to strengthen competition within the EAP region.
The EAP office has agreed to allow PNG as host and the highest ranked country in the region to field an “A” Team (PNG Emerging XI) to play as BSP Hearts in the 50-over competition.
The EAP event will see the national teams of Samoa, Fiji, Japan and Vanuatu travelling to Port Moresby on July 2 with the Event starting on July 4.
More than 75 players and officials are expected to converge on Port Moresby for the seven-day tournament.
International media attention will be high.
The ICC through ESPN (StarSports), who have the ICC’s global TV rights, will be sending a TV crew here to film the event and produce a documentary for worldwide distribution together on PNG and the success of the Barramundis.
Leading cricket website  Cricinfo as well as the ICC site will be carrying live (ball-by-ball) scores.
A cameraman from  world rennowned news, sports and entertainment company Getty Images will be on hand to capture the action for the ICC and the Australian government as well as for worldwide distribution on the net.
Local TV station EMTV will televise the T20 final on Thursday July 7 from 7.30pm.
Interest throughout the Pacific will be enormous and the popular Pacific Beat ABC radio programme will anchor coverage across the Pacific.
With countries that will compete for gold in Noumea, New Caledonia, at the Pacific Games attending this is seen as the perfect lead-up tournament for the Barramundis.
Melanesian neighboursVanuatu and Fiji are expected to provide PNG with its stiffest challenges but the Barramundis are odds on to take the title.