PNG, Ireland book tickets to T20 World Cup
Papua New Guinea and Ireland first teams from the qualifying tournament to secure spots in next year's men's World Cup
28 October 2019, 08:09 AM AEST
Papua New Guinea and Ireland have sealed their place at next year's T20 World Cup in Australia after finishing top of their groups at a qualifying tournament in the UAE.
World No.17 Papua New Guinea will make their first ever appearance at a World Cup after beating Kenya by 45 runs at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday. They had to wait for the result of the Netherlands' game against Scotland before they could celebrate their automatic qualification for the men's tournament next October.
At one point today PNG were 19/6 against Kenya, with their hopes of qualifying automatically for the #T20WorldCup rapidly fading before their eyes.An inspired comeback and a nervous wait later and they're going to Australia.Welcome to 'The Big Dance', @Cricket_PNG. pic.twitter.com/AuIhfli6rg— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 27, 2019
The Dutch beat Scotland by four wickets but failed to knock off the 131 they needed for victory in 12.3 overs, which meant that the PNG Barramundis topped the qualifying tournament's Group A with a higher net run rate.
"I am feeling a little emotional," PNG's Australian coach Joe Dawes said. "It's been a pretty big two years, for them to achieve this is pretty special."
The former Queensland Bulls fast bowler said planning for the World Cup in Australia next year could wait.
"We'll start thinking about that tomorrow. We are just going to enjoy the moment. For them to achieve this is a great thing for us and for the nation."
PNG were facing disaster on Sunday when they slipped to 6-19 in their match against Kenya but Norman Vanua led the recovery, clubbing 54 from 48 balls and sharing a seventh wicket partnership of 77 with Ses Bau.
Kenya needed to reach the target of 118 in 12 overs to have any chance of qualifying for the playoffs but their batsmen were unable to get out of first gear.
Opener Irfan Karim was the only person to hit a boundary and top-scored with 29 as Kenya slid to be all out for 73. Nosaina Pokana was the most successful of the PNG bowlers with 3-21.
The Irish had gone top of Group B earlier on Sunday with victory over Nigeria, but three teams could have knocked them off their perch on the final day and qualified for the World Cup.
Oman were best placed to do so but they suffered a shock 14-run defeat to Jersey to stay level on eight points with Ireland but behind on run-rate.
A big win for either Canada or the United Arab Emirates in the final group game could also have knocked Ireland down to second, but a 14-run win for the hosts in Abu Dhabi went nowhere near close to doing so.
The Netherlands, UAE, Oman, Namibia, Scotland and Hong Kong will now battle it out for the remaining four qualification spots.
The Netherlands will face the UAE in a semi-final playoff, with the winner booking their spot at the World Cup and advancing to meet Ireland in the qualifying tournament's semi-finals.
One of Namibia and Oman will book their ticket to Australia in the other semi-final playoff, with the winner to meet PNG.
The loser of the playoff between the Dutch and UAE will meet Scotland on Wednesday, and the winner of that match will become the fifth team to qualify for the World Cup.
The loser of the Namibia-Oman match will play Hong Kong also on Wednesday, and the winner of that match will be the sixth and final team into the first round of next October's tournament.
Fourteen associate nations are competing at the World T20 Qualifier for the final six spots in the 'First Round' of next year's T20 World Cup in Australia. The first round will also feature Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and will be played in Geelong and Hobart.
Hosts Australia and other top nations such as India and England are already assured a spot in the 'Super 12' stage that will feature two groups of six before the knockout stages.
Australia have been placed in the Super 12's Group 1 along with Pakistan, New Zealand and the West Indies. India, England, South Africa and Afghanistan are in Group 2.
Both groups will be joined by two teams out of the tournament's first round.
Tickets for both the men’s and women’s tournaments can be purchased at the official ICC T20 World Cup website, t20worldcup.com