19 Mar 2019

Sport: PNG cricketers targeting next step towards history

1:27 pm on 19 March 2019

Papua New Guinea's cricketers are firmly focused on their own game in the lead-up to the Men's T20 World Cup Qualifying final for East Asia Pacific, which gets underway in Port Moresby tomorrow.

PNG and Vanuatu finished above Samoa and Fiji in the first qualifying round last August, while the Philippines progressed to the regional final after beating South Korea, Japan and Indonesia in December.

Papua New Guinea finished unbeaten in the East Asia Pacific Group A qualifiers.

Papua New Guinea finished unbeaten in the East Asia Pacific Group A qualifiers. Photo: Supplied/ICC

Barramundis head coach Joe Dawes said it was the first time in eight years Papua New Guinea had hosted a major qualifying tournament and they were looking forward to performing in front of their home fans.

"We're probably more at the stage of our cricket where we're just worring about doing our thing," he said.

"I know it's a bit of an old cliché but it's Twenty20 cricket - any side can have a day out - so we've just really worked on making sure that we're in the best position we can be with our physicality I guess and our skill-sets and backing that if we play our cricket we will get the job done."

Assad Vala discusses tactics with coach Joe Dawes, (right).

PNG captain Assad Vala and coach Joe Dawes. Photo: PNG Cricket

PNG, Vanuatu and the Phillipines will play each other twice with the overall winner advancing to the final T20 World Cup Qualifier in October, from which six teams will qualify for the main event in 2020.

"That's massive for us," admitted Joe Dawes.

"As an organisation, as a team, as a high performance unit, we've really talked a lot about doing something that we've never achieved before in both the male and the female (international programmes) and that's making a senior World Cup.

"And to do it in Australia next year for both the men and the women would be awesome and that's our big focus."