16 Jul 2016

Sport: PNG make winning start to women's cricket qualifier

9:51 am on 16 July 2016

An unbeaten half century from captain Pauke Siaka has guided Papua New Guinea to an emphatic six wicket win over hosts Samoa in the opening match of the East Asia Pacific Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier.

The PNG Lewas celebrate a wicket.

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

Samoa elected to bat first in Apia, with Regina Lili'l top-scoring with 31 as the hosts recovered from 44 for 6 to be all out for 136 in the 50th and final over.

Sibona Jimmy was the pick of the PNG bowlers, claiming 4 for 24 from her 10 overs, including the crucial wicket of home skipper Lili'l, while Mairi Tom and Ravina Oa picked up two a piece.

Chasing 137 for victory, the Lewas were in early trouble at 28 for 3 after losing their top three batters for 10, 1 and 2 runs respectively in the first ten overs.

Pace bowler Taalili Iosefo excelled at the top of the innings, taking 2 for 30 from her seven overs.

But Pauke Siaka steadied the ship, putting on 52 runs for the fourth wicket alongside Helen Buruka, who retired hurt, and Konio Oala.

Captain Siaka finished unbeaten on 53 from just 66 balls as PNG reached their target with more than 15 overs to spare.

"I had to stay there and fight for the team and I know we deserved it," Siaka said.

The result also helped to reassert PNG's regional dominance in women's cricket, having been upset by Samoa in the final of last year's Pacific Games.

PNG are back in action today against Japan, who were beaten by a Cricket Without Borders selection team in a Twenty20 practice match.

Samoa celebrate winning gold at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

Samoa women's cricket team. Photo: ICC East Asia Pacific