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Over the past decade, cricket in Papua New Guinea has experienced significant growth, primarily driven by raw talent and passion. Papua New Guinea cricket team has qualified for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 after registering a thumping 100-run victory over the Philippines in the East Asia Pacific Qualifier.

Credit - ESPNcricinfo

While Papua New Guinea may have faced its fair share of challenges, they are setting their sights on soaring to new heights in the cricketing world. The team with a growing talent pool, is aiming to elevate its cricketing status and make a significant impact on the global cricketing stage.

This is the second time that PNG has qualified for a Men's T20 World Cup. The side made it to the T20 WC in 2021 held in UAE and Oman but finished at the bottom. Papua New Guinea is the sole team from the East Asia-Pacific Qualifier to qualify for the T20 World Cup 2024. This achievement marks a significant milestone for PNG cricket, showcasing their growing prowess on the international stage.

Papua New Guinea’s cricketing history

Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a relatively short but impressive cricketing history. Cricket was introduced in PNG by missionaries from the London Missionaries Society in the early 1900s. Initially matches were not always played with strict rules, with teams fielding over fifty players a common occurrence.

The game became very popular among the Papuan coastal villages where these missionaries and early British explorers first landed. PNG made its international debut in 1973 when they played against Australia in a one-day match. However, it wasn't until the late 1990s that PNG started to make significant progress in international cricket.

Credit - Cricket PNG

PNG became an Associate Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 1973, before competing in ICC Trophy in 1979 (now known as the ICC World Cup Qualifier) where they finished in 10th place. Since that initial tournament, PNG has competed in a total of 33 ICC Sanctioned/Pacific Games competitions across a number of formats.

In the following years, PNG continued to improve and achieved notable successes in regional tournaments. They won the East Asia-Pacific Cricket Trophy in 2001 and 2005, and the ICC East Asia-Pacific Championship in 2007 and 2011. The turning point came in 2014 when Papua New Guinea achieved ODI status, paving the way for them to compete against top-tier teams.

PNG's journey to the T20 World Cup 2024

Papua New Guinea’s journey to the ICC T20 World Cup 2024 has been historic and awe-inspiring. They dominated the East Asia Pacific Qualifier, securing a well-deserved spot in the prestigious tournament. Entering as the favourites, they remained undefeated, winning five consecutive games.

Credit - Cricket PNG

The team began their campaign with a strong victory against Vanuatu, securing nine wickets to set the stage for their remarkable journey. In the following match against the Philippines, Papua New Guinea stunned everyone with a jaw-dropping 117-run win, showcasing their cricketing prowess in all aspects.

They continued their winning streak, overcoming Japan and Vanuatu once again, unfazed by their early successes. In their last encounter with the Philippines, PNG reaffirmed their dominance with yet another masterful performance, claiming a massive 100-run win. The victory not only emphasized their supremacy in the qualifiers but also solidified their position as the top team in the competition.

With an unblemished run, Papua New Guinea confidently stands with 10 points from 5 games, earning a well-deserved berth for the ICC T20 World Cup 2024. Their exceptional performances have captivated the cricketing world, earning them a place on the global stage.

Growth and Future Prospects of Cricket in Papua New Guinea

The T20 World Cup 2024 will be a significant milestone for PNG cricket. It will provide them with an opportunity to compete against some of the best cricketing nations in the world and gain valuable experience. It will also help in the development and promotion of cricket in PNG, inspiring young cricketers and attracting more attention to the sport in the country.

As Papua New Guinea continues to carve its niche in the global cricket community, the future looks bright with a focus on nurturing talent, overcoming challenges, and striving for excellence on the international stage. With a strong foundation and a passionate cricketing community, Papua New Guinea's cricket history is a testament to the enduring spirit of the game and the potential for even greater success in the years to come.

PNG's remarkable cricketing journey, including their qualification for the T20 World Cup 2024, is a testament to their hard work and dedication. It will be exciting to see how they perform in the tournament and continue to grow as a cricketing nation. 

Papua New Guinea is set to commence their 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup against the West Indies on June 2. PNG, along with New Zealand, Afghanistan, Uganda and the West Indies has been placed in Group C. The T20 World Cup 2024 is scheduled to be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States from 01 June and the final will be played on June 29.

Cover Credit - Cricket PNG