Papua New Guinea announce 15-member squad for ODI World Cup Qualifiers

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Papua New Guinea announce 15-member squad for ODI World Cup Qualifiers

Papua New Guinea squad in the T20 World Cup Qualifiers 2019. © ICC

Papua New Guinea (PNG) have announced a 15-member squad to take part in the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifiers 2021 in Zimbabwe beginning on November 21 with Kaia Arua at the helm.

The squad has a familiar feel to it, with the likes of Brenda Tau, Ravina Oa, Sibona Jimmy, Arua and Tanya Ruma likely to play key roles in their team's campaign. The players have been recently involved in the domestic one-day competition with selection based on performances through those matches.

Tau, PNG's highest run-getter in T20Is with 402 runs in 22 matches, will be a central figure in the batting line-up alongside Ruma, Jimmy and Arua. Fast bowler Ravina Oa, who has 27 T20I wickets to her credit, will lead the attack alongside spinners Jimmy and Arua.

"We have a good side with a mixture of raw and experienced talents," Arua told PNG Post Courier. "The girls are preparing so well amidst the pandemic and we are giving our best to be pre-prepared for the qualifiers."

"As skipper I am trying to work with the girls in all possibility to make it work for us."

PNG's last international assignment came in September 2019 when they were involved in the " rel="noopener noreferrer">ICC T20 World Cup Qualifiers in Scotland. There, the Oa-led team reached the semi-final of the competition, going down to Thailand in a nail-biting encounter. Jimmy was the team's best performer through that tournament, top-scoring with 97 runs including a maiden half-century (58* against USA), and also taking eight wickets.

Despite the side's time away from the international arena, PNG head coach Kath Hempenstall, who was only recently appointed to the role, expressed confidence in the players selected, adding that everyone was excited to finally return to the international fold.

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“We feel this will be a strong team and we can’t wait to get to Zimbabwe and to get into playing international cricket again. The Kumul Petroleum PNG Lewas haven’t played internationally for two years, and we can’t wait to test ourselves against tough competition.”

Hemepnstall, a former Perth Scorchers player, will join up with the team directly in Zimbabwe.

PNG are placed in Group A alongside West Indies, Sri Lanka, Ireland and Netherlands. They will kick off their tournament on the opening day against West Indies.

PNG have plenty to play for with the top five teams in the tournament set to benefit from the competition. While the top three teams will join the already qualified five side in the ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand next year, the next two placed teams will book a place in the next cycle of the ICC Women's ODI championship.

Squad: Melani Ani, Vicky Araa, Kaia Arua, Hollan Doriga, Kevau Frank, Veru Frank, Sibona Jimmy, Ravina Oa, Tanya Ruma, Pauke Siaka, Brenda Tau, Mairi Tom, Isabel Toua, Henao Thomas, Naoani Vare