15 Jul 2016

Sport: PNG Lewas eye Samoa revenge

9:30 am on 15 July 2016

The Papua New Guinea women's cricket team is out for revenge against Samoa in the East Asia Pacific World Cup Qualifier.

The Lewas are the top-ranked team in the region after winning the EAP Trophy two years ago.

But they suffered a shock defeat against Samoa in the final of last year's Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

The sides meet again in Apia today in the first round of regional qualifying, which also includes Japan.

Head coach Rodney Maha said the bulk of their squad has been training together for the past four months and they are determined to make amends.

"Really big factor - we talked about it just before we came. We know Samoa have a very good team, especially they bond very well and it makes it easy for any coach to coach them. It's been a very big motivation, that's the game that we lost in the grand final for the gold medal playoff," he said.

"We believe we can do well, we just have to be careful not to be over-confident and then start losing even the lower matches (against) the least stronger teams. The attitude we have right now with the team is that we don't only think of Samoa but we take all the teams just as important as Samoa."

The PNG Lewas celebrate a wicket.

The PNG Lewas celebrate a wicket. Photo: ICC East Asia Pacific

One of the challenges for teams competing in the World Cup Qualifier is adapting to the 50-over format, which is not commonly played in the East Asia Pacific region.

Rodney Maha said PNG haven't played an international one-day match for about three years but have played some lead-up matches in Port Moresby in an attempt to get themselves up to speed.

"Right now we still play Twenty20 games - there are no 50 overs (in Papua New Guinea) - so most of the players are fairly new to the new format. That's a whole new ball-game when it comes to the new format: we're so used to just going out for just probably an hour an then coming back completing just 20 overs," he said.

"It's definitely very new and it's going to be a really good challenge for most of them just playing 50 overs and also trying to keep their wicket for that long, so probably fitness will be a really big factor in this new format."

Japan are also competing in the EAP qualifiers and will play two Twenty20 practice matches today against a Cricket Without Borders selection team from Australia.

Samoa, Japan and PNG will play two full rounds of matches over the next week with the top finishers to advance to next year's final World Cup qualifying tournament.