Assad Vala will lead Papua New Guinea to their 10th World Cup qualifying event, hoping to make it to the ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time.
Papua New Guinea will be looking to secure a place at their first ever ICC Cricket World Cup. They made it to the tournament after finishing in fourth place in the World Cricket League Championship (WCLC) behind Netherlands, Scotland and Hong Kong.
Sese Bau was their star batsman in the WCLC, finishing with 446 runs at an average of 37.16. Norman Vanua was the joint second-highest wicket-taker, with 23 victims at 21.21.
24 November 2017 – Lost to Scotland by 6 wickets
25 November 2017 – Lost to Scotland by 4 wickets
6 December 2017 – Lost to Hong Kong by 23 runs
8 December 2017 – Lost to Hong Kong by 93 runs
ICC CWCQ Group A
Papua New Guinea
United Arab Emirates
4 March - v UAE, Harare Sports Club, Harare
6 March - v Ireland, Harare Sports Club, Harare
8 March - v West Indies, Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare
10 March - v Netherlands, Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare
Squad: Assad Vala (capt), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Mahuru Dai, Kiplin Doriga, Jason Kila, Vani Morea, Alei Nao, Damien Ravu, John Reva, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Norman Vanua, Jack Vare (wk)
Captain Assad Vala admits that this will be a challenge for his team and they will need to be on top form. “There are big matches coming up, you need to prepare," he said. "It is going to be another step up for us and the teams we will be playing against will be the best, so we need to get ready.”
Runs and wickets from Vala will be hugely important for PNG and the squad will need to perform better than they did in the final round of the World Cricket League Championship, where they lost both matches.
Papua New Guinea start their campaign against UAE, a team they have a decent recent record against. When the two sides met at the World Cricket League Championship they won a match each and this fixture will be vital for both teams.
Cricket World Cup history
While PNG have never made it to the World Cup proper, they have played at 10 of the last 11 qualifying tournaments. The closest they have come to qualification was at the 1982 ICC Trophy, where they finished third after a semi-final loss to Bermuda.
What needs to go right for PNG to qualify?
Getting to the Super Sixes will be the first target for PNG, and doing so will be a tough ask. A captain’s performance in the opening group stage from Assad Vala will be a good start, but runs from Sese Bau will be very important. A similar wicket-taking display that Norman Vanua produced during the WCLC will also be key to their progression.