What A Story! Papua New Guinea Create History, Qualify For Next Year’s T20 World Cup
It was a day for the history books as Papua New Guinea booked their place in next year's T20 World Cup after beating Kenya.
They were massive under dogs coming into the T20 World Cup qualifiers, but their performance on the pitch was reminiscing of an established team that knew no bounds and were determined to not only play, but to win too.
On Sunday, they knew a win against Kenya will put them on the cusp of history - a World Cup qualification, something they had never achieved before. It was the occasion that had so much on the line for the island nation.
But it coudn't have gone possibly more wrong as they were reduced to 19 for six within four overs, and it seemed they had blown their opportunity to secure automatic qualification. However, led by Norman Vanua’s fighting 48-ball 54, PNG recovered to post 118 in 19.3 overs.
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
Defending 119 in a T20 game, Papua New Guinea knew they had a mighty task at hand, but their bowlers came out firing and didn't give anything away.
Kenya had Irfan Karim scoring a 22-ball 29, and that meant they were 40 for one after the Powerplay. However, the slide began. There were only two more scores that reached double digits: Collins Obuya made a 19-ball 10, and Aman Gandhi fought to a 25-ball 14.
Assad Vala returned a brilliant 3/7, and Nosaina Pokana provided superb support with his 3/21. Kenya were bundled out for 73 in 18.4 overs.
It was PNG's fifth win in 6 games, ensuring them of automatic qualification for the tournament in Australia next year.
History was made - it was richly deserved for Papua New Guinea, who played out of their skin, put bodies on the line, and showed great team spirit to achieve what looked impossible before the tournament.
It is a massive boost for a country looking to make their way up the ladders in world cricket. The qualification might be the start PNG needed to make big inroads and shock the established foundations of cricket.
Playing against the top teams, in a World Cup, is a remarkable achievement, and Papua New Guinea would know its their time to make a big impact on a bigger stage.
They have arrived, and they mean business.