Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Uganda will be anxious to showcase their skills when they arrive in the Netherlands in their bid to claim the two remaining places at this year’s ICC Women’s World T20 2018.
The matches of the qualifying tournament will take place at the VRA Cricket Ground in Amstelveen and Kampong Cricket Club in Utrecht from 7-14 July, with the finalists joining Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Windies for the event proper in the Caribbean from 9-24 November.
For PNG, this will be their second participation in a World T20 qualifier after they finished fifth in 2015. PNG have progressed following their success in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifying Series East Asia-Pacific Region in April and May 2017 in Japan.
It was there that PNG defeated Vanuatu by nine wickets and five wickets, Japan by 78 runs and 92 runs, and Samoa by six wickets in the vital repeat fixture after losing the earlier match by 16 runs.
Captain Pauke Siaka notched 110 runs, while Tanya Ruma scored a combined total of 131 and all-rounder Sibona Jimmy picked up 117 runs and 10 wickets. PNG quick bowler Ravini Oa also picked up nine scalps in the regional Qualifying Series.
“I think we have a settled team for next month’s tournament, though we have not played any international cricket since the Japan tournament,” said 32-year-old captain Siaka.
“But we all are excited and looking forward to making a good impression in Amsterdam. We have been training hard for the last six months under Coach Rarua Dikana’s intense training program and we hope to qualify for the World Cup after all that hard work.
"Like other sides, we will arrive with a conviction that we can win the tournament. It will then depend on how we perform on match days, but I think we are ready to compete against the more experienced sides.”
PNG are grouped with Bangladesh, hosts Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Siaka hopes her side will progress to the semi-finals. “That’s the objective and I think it is very much achievable," she added. "We just need to do the basics right, not look too far ahead and respect our opponents.”
Uganda are just one step away from featuring in their maiden World T20 tournament after having qualified for the Amsterdam competition following their success in the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifying Series Africa Region in Windhoek last year.
In the final of the Qualifying Series in Namibia, Uganda surprised Zimbabwe when they achieved their 100-run target with three wickets and three balls to spare. Getrude Candiru was the star of the final, notching 3/14 with the ball and 23 not out with the bat.
Candiru finished as her side’s overall top run-scorer with 107 runs, while she was also the tournament’s leading wicket-taker with 15 scalps. Uganda have been placed with Ireland, Scotland and Thailand in Group B.
“This will be our debut at this level, but we are taking this as a great opportunity to show our talent,” remarked Kevin Awino, the 21-year-old captain, adding: “The sides in our group are more experienced but this should not stop us from showing what we are capable of.
“Playing at the World T20 qualifier is a big step in the right direction as this event will provide us the experience and exposure that will be invaluable for the future. We all are excited and looking forward to not only playing against the more experienced sides, but also learning from them and building relationships.”
Arua, Oa (both PNG), Candiru and Immaculate Nakisuyi (both Uganda) have also been named in the 13-member Women’s Global Development Squad, which will play five matches against ECB Super League teams from 15-21 July as part of their warm-up fixtures.
The initiative, a partnership between the ICC and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), aims at providing exposure to teams who feature in the ICC Women’s Championship but are outside the top-eight ranked sides, in a bid to make World T20Is more competitive in the coming years.
7 July: Bangladesh v PNG (1600-1845); Pim van Liemt and Claire Polosak (on-field umpires), Roland Black (reserve umpire)
8 July: PNG v UAE, VRA (1600-1845); Jacqueline Williams and Sue Redfern (on-field umpires), Pim van Liemt (reserve umpire)
10 July: Netherlands v PNG (1600-1845); Sue Redfern and Ahmed Shah Pakteen (on-field umpires), Jacqueline Williams (reserve umpire)
PNG squad: Pauke Siaka (c), Natasha Ambol, Vicky Ara'a, Kaia Arua, Helen Buruka (wk), Veru Kila Frank, Sibona Jimmy, Kopi John, Ravini Oa,Tanya Ruma, Brenda Tau (wk), Mairi Tom, Isabel Toua, Naoani Vare. Rarua Dikana (coach)
7 July: Scotland v Uganda (1200-1445); Roland Black and Claire Polosak (on-field umpires), Pim van Liemt (reserve umpire)
8 July: Uganda v Thailand, Kampong (1200-1445); Ahmed Shah Pakteen and Roland Black (on-field umpires), Claire Polosak (reserve umpire)
10 July: - Ireland v Uganda, VRA (1200-1445); Jacqueline Williams and Ahmed Shah Pakteen (on-field umpires), Sue Redfern (reserve umpire)
Uganda squad: Kevin Awino (c) (wk); Joyce Mary Apio, Consylate Aweko, Getrude Candiru, Siadat Kemigisha, Janet Mbabazi, Rita Musamali, Frankline Najjumba, Immaculate Nakisuuyi, Mary Nalule, Prico Nakitende, Stephanie Nampiina, Carol Namugenyi, Rachael Ntono. Francis Ngede (coach)