Papua New Guinea have sealed their spot at the Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup after a fifth straight win at the East Asia Pacific Qualifier in Samoa.
The Garamuts outclassed hosts Samoa by eight wickets to take an unassailable lead with one round remaining, reports RNZ.
Medium pacer Leke Morea starred with ball, claiming 3 for 10 off seven overs while Ovia Sam chipped in with 3 for 24 as Samoa were bowled out for 89, including 35 extras, with only two batters making it to double figures.
PNG’s opening duo combined for a 72-run opening stand between Simon Atai (35 off 44) and Igo Mahuru (31* off 50) before reaching their target inside 20 overs.
Captain Vagi Karaho was elated after the match as the Garamuts secured automatic qualification to January’s World Cup in New Zealand, having missed out to Fiji at the same stage two years ago.
“It’s a really big opportunity for us to play in the World Cup. The boys are very proud, we are feeling very proud for our country,” said Karaho after the match.
Reflecting on what this means for the supporters back home in PNG, Karaho went on to say “all of the people where we are from are very supportive, I think they are more proud than us.”
Meanwhile Fiji showed improvement in a comfortable 73 run win against Vanuatu.
Opener Rollie Marika top-scored with 33 from 63 balls as Fiji posted 156 batting first, their highest total of the tournament.
Captain Tuwai Yabaki (31 from 33 balls) and Petero Cabebula (28 off 26 balls) also contributed with the ball, while spinners Stephane Sandy (3 for 35 off 10) and Williamsing Nalisa (3 for 47 off 6) were the chief destroyers in the field.
Fiji fast bowler Jack Charters also excelled with the ball, bagging 4 for 25 to earn man of the match honours, as Vanuatu were dismissed for just 83 runs.
The Fijians won the previous East Asia-Pacific Qualifier but suffered a shock loss to Samoa earlier in the tournament, giving the Samoans their first ever victory at under 19 international level.
The teams will meet again in the final round, with Fiji needing a win to claim second place, while Papua New Guinea can complete a tournament clean sweep when they face Vanuatu.