Papua New Guinea have topped UAE and the Netherlands to enter the semi-finals, and Ravini Oa, their star medium pacer, can’t wait to have a go at Ireland next.
PNG have been the story of the ICC Women’s World T20 Qualifier 2018, starting with a loss to the top-rated Bangladesh but then trumping the United Arab Emirates, narrowly, and handing the Netherlands their third loss in a row with a 44-run win to wrap up their Group A commitments.
That has put them in the semi-finals and in front of Ireland, who breezed through their Group B games with an all-win record in keeping with their status of being No.10 on the MRF Tyres ICC Women’s Team Rankings.
Against the Netherlands, it was a strong all-round performance that did it for PNG. Kopi John (40) and Brenda Tau (34) did most of the scoring as PNG put up 129/5. Mairi Tom then returned 4/24, but Ravina Oa did the initial damage, sending back Netherlands openers Sterre Kalis and Heather Siegers with just 12 runs on the board. The home side never really recovered, ending on 85.
“I kept on telling myself that it was in my stepping zone for this game, so I really fought hard,” said Oa, the 23-year-old medium pacer, after the win.
PNG’s run into the last four was possible because of the win over UAE, not in everyone’s calculations after UAE had beaten the Netherlands in their opening encounter.
PNG march into the #WT20Q semi-finals as Netherlands go winless in the group stage, the hosts going down by 44 runs in Amstelveen today.#NEDvPNG REPORT ➡️ https://t.co/xJsXncXE6f pic.twitter.com/aCctP0Wlqs— ICC (@ICC) July 10, 2018
“It was good, and we really prepared well to play against UAE. We were all in good spirits, good team spirit,” said Oa. “We really were very happy and excited about it, because we were looking forward to going to the semi-finals.
“We are very happy [with the two wins], and we still have the focus in the game to go really, really hard against Ireland in the semi-finals. We are really confident,” Oa said.
“Ireland have a good batting side, and we want to hold it by bowling tight and going really hard, so we can hold them for 80 or 100 runs to make it easier for our batters to pass the score.”
On the partnership with Tom, Oa added, “I gave her the opportunity to use the new ball and she did a really good spell. We did a lot of group preparations before we came here.”
And the performance against the Netherlands has lifted her mood in a major way too, Oa said. “From now on, I have a focus. I have plans to go against some players, and with Mairi to go against them.
“It’s going to be really exciting [if PNG qualify for the ICC World T20 2018]. It will be a proud moment for us. It will make our family and our supporters back home proud. It’s a going to mean a lot to us. As a small country, PNG, there’s no other sports where we have qualified for the World Cup. If it’s going to be us, it’s going to mean a lot to us.”