Papua New Guinea (PNG) – beat Fiji by 30 runs in the final of the ICC World Cup Qualifying Series Division 2 tournament in Malaysia on Sunday.
The victory puts PNG one step away from its first ever appearance at the ICC Cricket World Cup, securing it the 12th and final place at the ICC Trophy Ireland 2005 from which the top five sides will qualify for the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007.
Heavy overnight rain restricted the final to 33 overs-a-side. Batting first, PNG accumulated 176 all out in 32.4 overs. The crucial contributions came from Jamie Brazier who hit 62 from 43 balls and Arua Uda with 57 from 64 balls.
The target proved too much for Fiji who, faced with the accuracy of the PNG bowlers and the energy and enthusiasm of their fielders, crumbled to 146 all out from 31.5 overs.
Neil Maxwell top scored again for Fiji with 56 runs from 42 balls whil Inoa Baeau (3 for 28) and Toka Gaudi (2 for 12) did the damage with the ball.
Man of the Match Brazier was delighted with his team’s victory and said that ICC Cricket World Cup qualification was now a realistic goal for his side.
‘It is great to play against teams from throughout the world and fantastic to finish the event as winners,’ said Brazier.
‘I think that the key to our success was that we fielded better than anyone else and we ran well between the wickets even in the heat. We prepared well for this event and its pleasing to have the effort rewarded.
‘The next step is to work even harder ahead of the ICC Trophy. Some people didn’t give us a chance in this event so, who knows, we could even make it to the World Cup.’
The Cayman Islands finished fifth in the tournament thanks to a win over Kuwait in their last match. The game was reduced to 33 overs due to a delayed start.
Cayman won the toss and sent Kuwait in to bat. Kuwait was 164 for the loss of ten wickets after 32.5 overs. Cayman replied with 164 runs for the loss of 7 after 28 overs.
Cayman’s Pearson Best was named Man of the Match. The Cayman team was coached by Theo Cuffy and Andy Myles. Ryan Bovell served as captain.
Fiji’s Neil Maxwell was named Man of the Tournament for a series of pivotal contributions with bat and ball.