Papua New Guinea (PNG) will make its first-ever appearance at a World Cup after beating Kenya in Dubai on Sunday to book its place at next year’s T20 World Cup.
PNG hammered Kenya by 45 runs at Dubai International Stadium but had to wait for the result of the Netherlands’ game against Scotland before it could celebrate an automatic qualification for the tournament in Australia.
The Dutch beat Scotland by four wickets but failed to knock off the 131 it needed for victory in 12.3 overs which meant that PNG topped the group with a higher net run-rate.
“I am feeling a little emotional,” PNG’s Australian coach Joe Dawes told the ICC. “It’s been a pretty big two years, for them to achieve this is pretty special.”
PNG was facing disaster as it slipped to 19 for six in four overs but Norman Vanua led the recovery, clubbing 54 from 48 balls and sharing a seventh wicket partnership of 77 with Ses Bau.
Kenya needed to reach the target of 118 in 12 overs to have any chance of qualifying for the play-offs but the batsmen were unable to get out of first gear.
Opener Irfan Karim was the only person to hit a boundary and top-scored with 29 as Kenya slid to 73 all out. Nosaina Pokana was the most successful of the PNG bowlers with three for 21.
Ireland also made sure of a place in the finals in Australia courtesy of results elsewhere going in its favour, with Jersey defeating Oman on the final day of group-stage action.
As well as reaching next year’s showpiece, both PNG and Ireland will also progress to the semifinals of the ongoing qualifying tournament, where they play the winners of the two semifinal playoffs.