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Papua New Guinea Make History Qualifying for ICC Men's T20 World Cup

Papua New Guinea Make History Qualifying for ICC Men's T20 World Cup
Papua New Guinea Make History Qualifying for ICC Men's T20 World Cup
©ICC
 

Papua New Guinea made history in the UAE after qualifying for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup for the first time following their performances in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier.

PNG will be joined at Australia 2020 by Ireland, after the two nations finished top of Group A and Group B respectively following 42 matches, 11,053 runs and 559 wickets in a hugely-competitive first stage.

The race to join them will come to its conclusion over the next week with Netherlands, Namibia, Scotland, Oman, UAE and Hong Kong looking to qualify via the play-off system.

Four of the remaining six sides will reach next year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, with a dramatic finish in store across the remaining ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier matches.

PNG revel in history

PNG have never competed in an ICC global event but all that will change when they head into the First Round of Australia 2020.

Five victories in their six matches saw them edge out the Netherlands on net run-rate, with a four-run defeat to Scotland the only blot on their Group A copybook.

It was with the ball where Assad Vala’s side really came into their own, taking each of their wickets at an average of just 13.21 apiece – better than all the other 13 teams in the Qualifier.

They also only gave away an average of 6.07 runs per over in the course of their six matches, with their tight bowling and strong fielding set to hold them in good stead in the semi-finals.

Key man – Damien Ravu: Ravu has bowled wonderfully in the competition to date, with his ten wickets costing just 8.50 runs apiece.

He has also kept things tight in the runs column, boasting an economy rate of just 4.72 and taking at least one wicket in every match, the best his four for 18 in four overs against Singapore.

Ireland back in business

They didn’t have the most straightforward of campaigns but a strong finish from Ireland was enough to secure them an automatic spot at “The Big Dance.”

Early victories over Hong Kong and Oman marked a positive start but the competitiveness of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier was there for all to see when they were defeated by UAE and Canada.

But Ireland’s experience shone through when it mattered most in Group B, winning against Jersey and Nigeria which, coupled with results elsewhere, proved enough to clinch top spot.

Their strength came with the bat, becoming the only team to average more than 30 runs per wicket (30.23) while the five half-centuries made by their batsmen was the joint most in the competition.

Key man – Paul Stirling: Conditions in the UAE are vastly different to what Ireland are used to but their ability to adapt proved invaluable.

No side bettered their dot ball or boundary percentages while Paul Stirling showed all his experience to hit 237 runs, knocking the ball around well for his three half-centuries.

Netherlands bidding for comeback

With victories over England, in both 2009 and 2014, among their T20 World Cup scalps, Netherlands certainly have big history in the tournament.

And their bid for a fourth appearance is still alive after finishing second in Group A – only losing to table-topping PNG in the competition’s first stage.

No side conceded runs at a better economy than the 6.02 per over that the Dutch can boast, with the variety of options in their bowling attack the key to their success to date.

Three different players have already hit half-centuries in the competition, proving that the Netherlands are far from reliant on one person with the bat.

Key man – Paul van Meekeren: With a career bowling average below 20 and a lifetime economy of 6.94, Van Meekeren has already shown he is a canny operator.

But he displayed that in style in the opening six matches, finishing with 12 wickets at an average of 10.66 and taking a three-wicket haul on three separate occasions.

Oman up for play-off fight

The sole debutants three years ago, Oman are looking to reach back-to-back Men’s T20 World Cups to build upon the plentiful promise they have shown since India 2016.

Defeat in their final game to Jersey denied them top spot in the group but the side have shown why they’ll be feared in the play-offs.

Tricky to get away – conceding boundaries from just 8.47 per cent of balls bowled, the best so far – UAE found that out to detriment after being restricted to 108 for seven in their opener.

That was among the most impressive performances in the competition, with Oman’s eight-wicket win over Canada – chasing down 145 with five overs to spare – equally noteworthy given their opponents’ start to the competition.

Key man – Jatinder Singh: Batsmen have struggled to score at times during the competition but Singh has found consistency.

Reaching double figures in all six matches, the opener shone with 68 not out in the win over Canada, putting on 126 for the second wicket with Aqib Ilyas – the highest T20I partnership in Oman’s history.

Bowling the key for Namibia

Early losses to PNG and Netherlands marked a tough start to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier for Namibia.

But they put the setbacks behind them emphatically to win their last four games, with a crucial victory over Scotland followed up with impressive 87-run triumphs over Kenya and Singapore.

That came courtesy of dismissing their opponents for 94 and 104 having put big totals on the board, while Bermuda were also restricted to 106 for nine in their contest.

Namibia have shown they have the firepower to match, with no batsman registering more than the ten sixes hit by Gerhard Erasmus in the competition so far.

Key man – Jan Frylinck: With 14 wickets in six games so far, no bowler can boast more scalps than left-armer Frylinck.

His four for 21 against Singapore marked his best figures to date, while also shining in defeat with three-wicket hauls against both Netherlands and PNG.

Home heroes keen to deliver

UAE have the backing of the home crowd in Dubai, an advantage they’re looking to make the most of in the play-off stages.

So far they’ve had the performances to match, bowling out Ireland for 125 early on while also beating fellow play-off contenders Hong Kong by eight wickets.

It was their high-pressure win over Canada in the last game that was perhaps the most attention-grabbing, recovering from six for two to post 154 for five in tricky conditions.

They then held off a Canadian charge to prevail by 14 runs – a result which bagged them third place come the end of Group B.

Key man – Muhammad Usman: UAE needed someone to step up and be counted when struggling against Canada.

And Muhammad Usman ensured he was the man to do it, striking 89 from 63 balls with eight boundaries – his highest T20I score and the best of the Qualifier to date – to rescue a potentially-tricky situation.

Scotland striving for perfection

Scotland captain Kyle Coetzer admitted after the latest defeat to Netherlands that his side had yet to hit their straps.

But a place in the play-offs is theirs, knowing they must win their next game to reach Australia 2020.

Promise has certainly been shown in their six contests so far, with an explosive batting order featuring Coetzer, Matthew Cross and their current top run-scorer Calum MacLeod all showing glimpses.

Stitch an entire performance together and Scotland are up there with the best in the competition, looking to reach the T20 World Cup for the fourth time in their history.

Key man – Mark Watt: The game-changer against the Netherlands, Watt has found his range with five wickets coming in his last two matches.

Each one has come at a tight rate too, conceding just 6.05 runs per over he has bowled in the UAE.

Hong Kong bidding for big return

Victory over Bangladesh gave Hong Kong the taste for T20 World Cup cricket on their 2014 debut – now they’re striving for a third shot at “The Big Dance”.

Doing battle against teams around them was always going to be the key to their campaign, and while they lost to the top three sides, wins over Canada and Jersey – the latter by just eight runs – proved vital in progressing on net run-rate.

A young side that has learnt plenty already, Hong Kong have demonstrated a canny ability to improve as the competition goes on.

That’s largely thanks to their spin attack as well as the batting unit, showing maturity beyond their years to keep their Australia 2020 dreams firmly alive.

Key man – Kinchit Shah: Big runs against strong teams have been hard to come by this tournament but Shah bucked the trend superbly with his opening 79 against Ireland.

It wasn’t quite enough to win the match but the all-rounder’s influence on his team has been key, his 219 runs complemented by his three wickets to date.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier Fixtures (local time)

29 October - Play-off 1 – Netherlands v UAE (14h10), Play-off 2 – Namibia v Oman (19h30)

30 October - Play-off 3 – Scotland v Loser of Play-off 1 (14h10), Play-off 4 – Hong Kong v Loser of Play-off 2 (19h30)

31 October - Play-off for fifth and sixth places – Winner of Play-off 3 v Winner of Play-off 4 (14h10)

1 November - Semi-final 1 – Ireland v Winner of Play-off 1 (14h10), Semi-final 2 – PNG v Winner of Play-off 2 (19h30)

2 November - Third place Play-off (14h10), Final (19h30)

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 – Group A Standings

Team

Played

Won

Lost

No result

Points

NNR

PNG (Q)

6

5

1

 0

10

2.086

Netherlands (Q)

6

5

1

 0

10

1.776

Namibia (Q)

6

4

2

 0

8

1.080

Scotland (Q)

6

3

3

 0

6

0.258

Kenya

6

2

4

 0

4

-1.156

Singapore

6

2

4

 0

4

-1.375

Bermuda

6

0

6

 0

0

-2.839

 

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2019 – Group B Standings

Team

Played

Won

Lost

No result

Points

NNR

Ireland (Q)

6

4

2

 0

8

1.591

Oman (Q)

6

4

2

 0

8

0.997

UAE (Q)

6

4

2

 0

8

0.682

Hong Kong (Q)

6

3

3

 0

6

0.480

Canada

6

3

3

 0

6

0.240

Jersey

6

3

3

 0

6

0.089

Nigeria

6

0

6

 0

0

-4.673