National Cup – a shot in arm for PNG ahead of World Cup qualifiers in 2021
With the 2021 World Cup Qualifiers in mind, Cricket PNG has launched a new 40-over tournament, the National Cup held at Amini Park in Port Moresby. Men’s head coach Joe Dawes believes that the tournament will keep the players in good stead getting accustomed to the event in Sri Lanka next year.
“The back-to-back nature of the schedule adds the physical and mental strain associated with the longer format,” Dawes said in a press release. “This tournament and scheduling is great for the development of our current and future Lewas (PNG women’s team), and should put us in good shape for our 50-over Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2021.”
The tournament is being played among two teams. Isuzu Pink is being led by Branda Tau while the Team Teal side is being captained by Kaia Arua. In the opening encounter, Team Pink posted 200/6 in the 40 overs with Pauke Siaka scoring a magnificent 87 not out. She was ably supported by Sibona Jimmy’s 43.
For Team Teal, Vicky Ara’a was the pick of the bowlers picking three wickets for 33 runs. In reply, Tanya Ruma’s 91 not out and Kila Frank’s 55 saw Teal home in 37.4 overs losing just four wickets in the process.
Ruma maintained her form with a brilliant century in the second game too scoring a 105 not out in Teal’s 174/4 in 40 overs. Jimmy took 3 for 27 for Pink. In reply, Pink rode on knocks from skipper Tau (68) and Isabel Toua’s 32 to square off the series with just two balls to spare.
“400 runs between both sides is a fantastic result for the first day of the tournament,” said Dawes after the first match. “It was pleasing to see that the batters have adapted well to the longer format. Tanya (Ruma), Pauke (Siaka), Kila (Frank), and Sibona (Jimmy) were the standouts, making the most of the extra overs to build their innings.”
Dawes was also high praise for the bowlers after the second day of the tournament. “The bowlers made scoring difficult for either batting line-up, showing they can adapt to longer-form cricket. This is what we expect during this tournament, we want to challenge the players to keep improving,” he added.
Dawes expects Ruma to continue her scoring spree in the final too. “For our final game, we would like to see how the batters respond in the final. We would have liked to see more support around Tanya (Ruma) who made a fantastic century. She is having a phenomenal tournament, making 196 runs in two matches,” Dawes concluded.
Match 1: Isuzu Pink 200/6 in 40 overs (Pauke Siaka 87*, Sibona Jimmy 43; Vicky Ara’a 3/33) lost to Isuzu Teal 201/4 in 37.4 overs (Tanya Ruma 91*, Kila Frank 55) by six wickets.
Match 2: Isuzu Teal 174/4 in 40 overs (Tanya Ruma 105*; Sibona Jimmy 3/27) lost to Isuzu Pink 175/6 in 39.4 overs (Brenda Tau 68, Isabel Toua 32; Erani Pokana 3/27) by four wickets.