AFTER A SHAKY start to the tournament, PNG'S Under-19 cricket team has secured qualification for the Under-19 World Cup by picking up its fourth win in the last five games.
The team continued its rise up the table by easily beating Ireland. The other five teams to qualify for the World Cup were Scotland, Nepal, Ireland, Namibia and Afghanistan.
Seamer Norman Vanua starred with the ball for Papua New Guinea, picking up two early wickets that started an Ireland top-order collapse.
When the Ireland lower order was fighting to get a defendable total, Vanua came back and removed the last two batsmen, Ireland only managing to score 155.
PNG reached the target quickly, but not without losing five wickets.
A quickfire 30 from Vagi Oala got the chase off to a rollicking start but the run-rate slowed slightly as wickets fell. PNG were always comfortable, though, and got home – and through to qualification - in 29.1 overs.
The performance of the Under 19s matches recent improvements seen in the senior team and marks a real resurgence in PNG cricket.