Papua New Guinea
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Make or break to secure the winning ticket

The winning ticket to secure a spot in next year’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is just two matches away for host PNG, Japan, Philippines and Vanuatu.

Here is a look into how each team have progressed so far and what to expect from them in both the batting and bowling department in the last two remaining games.

PNG
For the Assad Vala PNG Barramundis skippered side, the approach is pretty much simple-taking each game at a time and adjusting to the challenge that each visiting teams brings out on game day.

The top batting order led by Tony Ura, Kiplin Doriga and Vala have yet again been put to the test. For Kiplin, he reached 32 runs off 18 deliveries followed by Vala (34/17) to send out a message to Vanuatu that they rule on home turf in the opening day of competition.
In terms of bowling, debutant John Kariko claimed a three-wicket haul against Vanuatu and followed through with his impressive left-arm orthodox bowling against Philippines and Japan.

Lending a much needed helping hand in bowling was Charles Amini Jr, Norman Vanua, Semo Kamea, Sese Bau and Kabua Morea.

Giving the home team a good contest also was Japan and Philippines. Their batters really tested Barras bowlers’ patience and adjusting to the different fielding adjustments. The 9am match against Vanuatu saw PNG adjusting to the conditions.

“We said anything over 140 runs was a good…it was a used pitch so more of a tennis ball bounce. We were really happy with the target and how the bowlers have been going to restrict them. We need to give ourselves time to adjust to the wicket. We knew what is expected of this ground.”

“Against Philippines another tough match so we have to be ready and all the boys are contributing to our success so hopefully another good performance on Friday (today),” says Vala.

PHILIPPINES
The Filipinos were also impressive in the opening fixture against Japan. Despite losing by 53 runs, their batsmen Jordan Alegre (33/29) and Josef Doctora (28/23) was a confidence booster.

In bowling, Amanpreet Sirah scooped up three wickets and he will be expected to step up again today against PNG.

Team manager Faisal Khan says they just need to have a better understanding of their strengths which will be helpful in both batting/bowling innings.

“Understanding of how the PNG turf pitches play (slow/off pace) and how we need to adjust our tactics to execute the game plan. Better understanding on how to compile a T20 batting/bowling innings in these conditions,” says Khan.

He believes the home team are the benchmark set pacers compared to how they (Philippines) offer their cricket style of play.

“Evident that Vanuatu/Japan are similar standard to us. PNG are the benchmark and we should aspire to that level (and beyond).”

“Process is important to set our performance benchmarks. Sometimes we can’t control the outcome. What we can do is to improve parts of the process.”

Khan says yesterday’s training provides the substitutes the opportunity to get batting/bowling under their belt whereas the batting order (top 6) rotate strike in the nets.

JAPAN
Japan surviving the Amini Cricket Park morning heat with a 53 runs win over Philippines on day one of competition. The 60 runs off 37 balls man-of-the-match performance by Kendel Kadowaki-Fleming gave the Japanese the much-needed winning run rate including Piyush Kumbhare’s double wicket haul was a good start.

Fleming continued his top batting form against Vanuatu with a 65 runs off 54 balls before being restricted to only 10 runs against PNG.

Today’s match against Vanuatu will likely see him stepping up to the crease and add the runs on the score card.

VANUATU
The winless campaign continues to haunt the Vanuatu side but they continue to turn up on every game day with a positive mindset to compete.

Wicketkeeper Jarryd Allan is their go to man when it comes to the batting innings. His 36 runs off 35 balls in the match against Philippines shows how well he can deliver if they (Vanuatu) want to set a target for their opponent.

He (Allan) was restricted to only 14 runs by PNG and 4 by the Japanese. For them, the bowling of Nalin Nipiko, Patrick Matautaava and Joshua Rasu will be put to test by the Japanese today and Philippines tomorrow.