Papua New Guinea continued their unbeaten run in East Asia-Pacific qualifying for next year's Men's T20 World Cup with a win over Vanuatu today in Port Moresby, whilst Japan remained in reach by beating the Philippines.
PNG captain Assad Vala won the toss and chose to bat first at Amini Park, and it was Vala who was their top scorer with 43 from 38 balls as they scored 148-7 from their 20 overs. Contributions also came from Tony Ura (25) and Norman Vanua (23).
Vanua was the then the leading wicket-taker in the Vanuatu innings with 3-34, with John Kariko, Semo Kamea and Charles Amini taking two each as Vanuatu were bowled out for 109 with Simpson Obed's 21 not out their highest score. Worringly for Vanuatu, their captain Patrick Matautaava - capable of turning a match with both bat and ball - had to retire hurt.
Japan also won the toss and chose to bat first in the second match of the day as they took on the Philippines. Sabaorish Ravichandran top scored with 41 from 26 balls as they scored 127-9 from their 20 overs.
The Philippines batted out their overs in reply but remained behind the required run rate throughout. Arashdeep Samra scored 25 whilst opening partner Grant Russ scored an unbeaten 43 as they crawled to 94-5, losing by 33 runs.
Their defeats today mean that Vanuatu and the Philippines are now out of contention for qualification. Given their net run rate, Papua New Guinea beating the Philippines on Friday will likely be enough to book their ticket to the World Cup, though Japan will remain in the hunt should they beat Vanuatu.