Papua New Guinea recover from 19 for 6 to stun Kenya by 45 runs, secure maiden qualification to T20 World Cup
PNG posted 118 and then bowled out Kenya for 73 (Twitter Photo - @T20WorldCup)
- PNG topped their group with a higher net run rate and qualify directly for the T20 WC
- Netherlands, who defeated Scotland, will have to take the playoffs route to reach Australia
- Earlier, Ireland had on Saturday sealed their spot in the World T20 with an 8-wicket win over Nigeria
Global cricketers hailed one of the sport's "feel good" stories of the year on Monday after Papua New Guinea dug themselves out of a huge hole at a Dubai qualifier to book their maiden appearance at the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
Emerging cricket nation PNG were 19 for six against Kenya after an early collapse at Dubai International Stadium but ended up thrashing the Africans by 45 runs on Sunday.
PNG's fortunes were dependent on the match between the Netherlands and Scotland with the former topping the group had they won the match. But the Dutch could not chase down the total of 130 off 12.3 overs, thus trailed PNG on net run rate.
Earlier, Ireland had on Saturday sealed their spot in the World T20 with an eight-wicket win over Nigeria. Their status was also dependent upon the result of the match between Oman and Jersey. A victory for Oman would have meant the end of Ireland's hopes but Jersey beat them by 14 runs.
The PNG players celebrated wildly in the stadium's terraces and their Australian coach Joe Dawes was overwhelmed.
The moment PNG qualified for the #T20WorldCup!T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 27, 2019
Look how much it means to them! pic.twitter.com/F2PM64vAcn
"I am feeling a little emotional," former Queensland bowler Dawes told the global governing body ICC.
"It's been a pretty big two years, for them to achieve this is pretty special."
Dawes said planning for next year's tournament could wait.
"We are just going to enjoy the moment. For them to achieve this is a great thing for us and for the nation," he added.
"For them to achieve this is pretty special."T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 27, 2019
Emotional and elated in equal measure, PNG's coach and captain Joe Dawes and Assad Vala spoke to @NatalieGermanos moments after their qualification for the #T20WorldCup was secured. pic.twitter.com/VtmbQEEkGY
PNG's automatic qualification came at the expense of the Netherlands, who defeated Scotland but will have to take the playoffs route to reach Australia.
Cricket was introduced into PNG in the early 1900s by British missionaries but the national teams have struggled to make an impression on the world stage until recently.
The men's "Barramundis" team were awarded One Day International Status by the ICC in 2014 and they have benefited from development grants from neighbouring cricket power Australia.
"The fact that Papua New Guinea have qualified for their first Men's T20 World Cup in 2020 is one of modern cricket's amazing feel good stories," commentator and former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop tweeted.
India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also hailed PNG's entry to one of cricket's biggest global stages.
So PNG qualifies for the T 20 World Cup!! It’s amazing to see the game expanding globally and will surely bring more young ones to play the great game. #PNG#thegameisricherAshwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) October 27, 2019
"So PNG qualifies for the T20 World Cup!! It's amazing to see the game expanding globally and will surely bring more young ones to play the great game," he tweeted.