The PNG Lewas have taken down last year’s Pacific Games gold medal winners Samoa for the second time in a gripping match in Apia.
Samoa needed to win their second round encounter with PNG to stay in the hunt for the one qualifying spot on offer and fought valiantly right to the end.
But the undefeated PNG team were too strong, notching their third win from as many matches and cementing their spot on top of the table.
Earlier Samoa won the toss and chose to bat under cloudy skies, which PNG’s accurate opening bowlers took advantage of, taking several early wickets.
Ravini Oa (3/19 off 7 overs) was the main destroyer, picking up the key wickets of in-form batters Regina Lili’I (one) and Matile Uliao (seven), as Samoa crumbled to be 5/37 in the 19th over.
Veteran Perelini Mulitalo (35*) provided some resistance and credibility to the batting, but ran out of partners as Samoa were bundled out for 95 in the 40th over.
In front of some vocal home crowd support, the Samoan ladies came out firing in the field, determined to make PNG work for every run.
When PNG captain Pauke Siaka (11) fell with the score on 3/48, the game was very much still in the balance and Samoa pounced to put all the pressure back on the batters.
Some poor running between the wickets and a couple of wickets to Matile Uliao (2/11) swung the match back Samoa’s way, with PNG 6/69 in the 25th over.
But Konio Oala, normally renowned for her big hitting, showed good composure and restraint with 15 not out from 41 balls to get PNG over the line in the 39th over.
PNG captain Pauke Siaka said her team was ecstatic with the win.
“We’re proud of ourselves, for the last few months we have trained hard and we deserved this win,” she said.
“I think all the girls are excited about getting through to the Global Qualifier.
Samoa’s Lelia Bourne – who won the player of the match award – believed her side was in the match right to the end.
“I just think if we put on more runs, things could have been different. But I still had a lot of belief that we could have done it on the field with 90 or so runs,” she said.
“It was a good effort from the girls, we didn’t give up. But good on PNG.”
On the other ground, Japan and Cricket Without Borders played a 40-over practice match, with CWOB coming up winners for a second time over Japan, by 78 runs.
The Qualifier has two more matches to be played, on Thursday July 21 and Friday July 22.
Samoa 10/95 (39.3) Perelini Mulitalo 35*, Lelia Bourne 16, Ravini Oa 3/19 (7), Konio Oala 2/1 (1.3) defeated by PNG 7/96 (38.1) Brenda Tau 18, Konio Oala 15*, Matile Uliao 2/11 (10) by three wickets
CWOB 8/197 (40) Charlotte Killen 63*, Alana King 29, Kanae Ishimoto 4/20 (5), Miho Kanno 2/19 (5) defeated Japan 12/119 (29.1) Kurumi Ota 17, Miho Asama 17, Georgia Kerr 3/10 (5) by 78 runs
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