With the qualifying pathways for women’s cricket almost exclusively played as T20s, 50-over matches between Associate teams have become almost as rare as Tests between Full Members. This 2017 encounter in Colombo displayed the hallmarks of two inexperienced sides grappling with the format, but it was charged with tension and lit up by an astonishing spell of bowling by PNG seamer (and captain) Pauke Siaka.
Sent in to bat by the Papua New Guineans, Scotland battled a disciplined bowling performance up front, and when star all-rounder (and Sarah’s sister) Kathryn Bryce was run out in the 18th over, the run rate plunged even further. From a nadir of 2.2 after 23 overs though, Rachel Hawkins and Kari Anderson gradually set about lifting the rate and after 37 overs, Scotland had edged to 118-4. Enter Pauke Siaka, who brought herself on to see out the death period and immediately trapped Hawkins LBW in her first over, the 38th, and bowled unchanged for the rest of the innings and collected the rest of the wickets to fall. Her one-woman demolition job of Scotland’s lower order yielded 6-19 from 7 overs and kept the Scots to 169.
In response, PNG openers Brenda Tau and Tanya Ruma were cautious but steady, and had reached 71-0 off 23 overs before Kathryn Bryce ran out Ruma. Siaka was the next woman in, but proved unable to back up her bowling heroics with the bat, and her dismissal at 89-2 started a procession of wickets that never stopped, with none of the subsequent partnerships producing more than 16 runs. But PNG were creeping closer to the target despite the regular breakthroughs by Scotland, with the match building to a tense finish. With 39 to defend from the last 5 overs, Scotland kept squeezing with a series of tidy overs, and left the ladies from the Pacific an unlikely 20 to get off the last.
Dundee-born seamer Priyanaz Chatterji was entrusted with the defence, but the occasion seemed to get to her as she sprayed 4 byes to start the over. Kaia Arua, a handy lower-order batter who has carried her side to victory with the willow at other times, couldn’t clear the field and was caught by Aitken. Number 10 Ravina Oa managed to get it away to the fence, then Chatterji gifted another 4 byes to leave Oa needing 8 off the last 2 balls. The penultimate was on target and Oa sent the last ball straight back to Chatterji who completed the catch to bowl out PNG and seal a nervous win.