Papua New Guinea clinch qualification for 2024 Men's T20 World Cup

Port Moresby, July 28 (IANS) Papua New Guinea (PNG) have clinched their berth in the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup, to be held in West Indies and the USA, after beating the Philippines by 100 runs, which guarantees a first-place finish for them in the ongoing East Asia-Pacific Qualifier.

PNG, led by Assad Vala, played in the first round of the 2021 Men’s T20 World Cup in Muscat, Oman. Now, in the ongoing competition, the hosts maintained a clean slate with wins in each of the five games played so far — twice against Vanuatu and the Philippines and once against Japan.

With their latest win against the Philippines, the PNG now have 10 points from five wins, meaning their place in the 2024 T20 World Cup is confirmed with one game to go, against Japan, on Saturday.

The PNG began their qualification dream with a dominant win against Vanuatu. The 19-year-old John Kariko led the bowling attack with a Player of the match-worthy return of 3-6, restricting Vanuatu to 71-8. The tournament hosts chased down the target in just 6.3 overs, sealing a comfortable nine-wicket win.

In their next outing, PNG made headlines against the Philippines thanks to Kabua Morea’s sizzling five-wicket haul which also featured a hat-trick. After opting to bat, PNG posted a competitive 162/7. Morea wreaked havoc with his spell of 5/9 as the Philippines crumbled for 45.

They continued their winning streak by securing comfortable wins against Japan and Vanuatu in the next two games, sealing victories by six wickets and 39 runs respectively. In their latest encounter on Friday, PNG rode on an impressive 118-run opening partnership set up the hosts for a massive score of 229/6 in their 20 overs.

The target proved too high for the Philippines as the PNG bowlers restricted them to 129/7 and secured their qualification for the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup. Earlier, Ireland and Scotland sealed their spots by finishing in the top two positions in the Europe Region Qualifier in Edinburgh.

The 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup will be hosted jointly by the West Indies and the USA. 20 teams will be divided into four groups of five each for the first round. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super Eight stage.

In Super 8, teams will be split into two groups of four each, with the top two sides from two groups entering the semi-finals. Hosts West Indies and USA, as well as Australia, defending champions England, India, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh have already qualified for the competition.

–IANS

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