PNG Women’s National Cup gets underway, Tanya Ruma scores 91 & 105*

Isaac Lockett reports on the PNG's Women’s National Cup and Assad Vala's nomination for ICC Men's Associate Player of the Decade.

Walking off after her 105 not out, Tanya Ruma and Naoani Vare who made 14 not out (Photo: Cricket PNG)
Walking off after her 105 not out, Tanya Ruma and Naoani Vare who made 14 not out (Photo: Cricket PNG)

Following the announcement of a new 40 over women’s tournament, the action from day one and two of the tournament has been full of action and excitement. 

Day 1

Match Result: Isuzu Pink 6 for 175 off 39.4 overs defeated Isuzu Teal 4 for 174 off 40 overs.

Day one saw Isuzu Teal and Isuzu Pink face off at Amini Park, with Isuzu Pink batting first. Teal’s opening bowlers Ravini Oa (1/33) and Vicky Ara’a (3/33) made inroads early, however, the batting side made an impressive recovery through important contributions from Pauke Siaka (87*), Sibona Jimmy (43) and Geua Tom (21*). Pink finished their innings on 200/6 after their allotted 40 overs, however, as it was the first game of the tournament it was unclear how much of a competitive total this was going to be.   

During the second innings, the Pink team were initially able to build on the momentum build at the latter end of their batting innings as the bowlers took early wickets. However, an impressive inning from Tanya Ruma, who scored 91 runs off 104 balls, and Kila Frank (55) led the recovery. Frank’s impressive innings ended before the run chase was complete, however, Ruma and Ara’a (14) helped Isuzu Teal chase down the target after 37.4 overs.

Photo from day one of the Women’s Isuzu National Cup as the Isuzu Pink bat first (Photo: Cricket PNG)
Photo from day one of the Women’s Isuzu National Cup as the Isuzu Pink bat first (Photo: Cricket PNG)

When reflecting on the day’s play, National Head Coach Joe Dawes said, ‘It was pleasing to see that the batters have adapted well to the longer format. Tanya (Ruma), Pauke (Siaka), Kila (Frank), and Sibona (Jimmy) were the standouts today, making the most of the extra overs to build their innings. 400 runs between both sides is a fantastic result for the first day of the tournament. With two more matches to go (Wednesday and Friday), the back to back nature of the schedule adds the physical and mental strain associated with the longer format. This tournament and scheduling is great for the development of our current and future Lewas, and should put as in good shape for our 50-over Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier in 2021’. 

Day 2

Match Result: Isuzu Pink 175 for 6 off 39.4 overs defeated Isuzu Teal 174 for 4 off 40 overs.

With the same two teams competing throughout the tournament, Isuzu Pink had the chance to square the tournament following the loss on day 1. Teal batted first with Tanya Ruma once again maintaining her impressive individual form as she finished on 105* from 125 balls. Alongside Ruma, Kila Frank (19), Vicky Ara’a (27) and Naoani Vare (14*) all impressed with the bat in hand. Sibona Jimmy was the Pink’s best performer with the ball during this game as she finished with the impressive figures of taking three wickets for 27 runs from her eight overs. Teal finished with 174 runs on the board after their 40 overs. 

Moving into the second innings of the game, Isuzu Pink lost an early wicket but an impressive partnership between Tanya Frank and Brenda Tau helped to steady the ship. Frank scored 16 off 30 balls while Isabel Toua 32 off 33 balls and Henao Thomas, 22 not out off 37 balls, scored important runs for their team. Erani Pokana was the standout of the Teal bowlers, taking three wickets for 27 runs in five overs.

Walking off after her 105 not out, Tanya Ruma and Naoani Vare who made 14 not out (Photo: Cricket PNG)
Walking off after her 105 not out, Tanya Ruma and Naoani Vare who made 14 not out (Photo: Cricket PNG)

When reflecting on the second day’s action, Dawes reflected that ‘This was a day for the bowlers after a high-scoring match on day one. The bowlers made scoring difficult for either batting line-up, showing they can adapt to longer form cricket. This is what we expect during this tournament, we want to challenge the players to keep improving – today it was the bowlers. For our final game, we would like to see how the batters respond after today. We would have liked to see more support around Tanya (Ruma) who made a fantastic century. She is having a phenomenal tournament, making 196 runs in two matches’. 

Assad Vala shortlisted for ICC Men’s Associate Player of the Decade

Away from the exciting action of Women’s National Cup, Cricket PNG officials have celebrated Assad Vala’s nomination for ICC Men’s Associate Player of the Decade. The PNG’s men’s team captain was nominated for the award along with Scotland’s Richie Berrington, Kyle Coetzer and Calum MacLeod, The Netherlands’ Peter Borren and Nepal’s Paras Khadka. Over the last decade, Vala has scored nearly 1,200 runs and 47 wickets in 53 matches across ODI and T20I cricket for PNG. 

Assad Vala EC Ambassador
Assad Vala has a highest score of 104 thus far during the CWC League 2 (Photo: ICC /Peter Della Penna)

When speaking about the Vala’s nomination Dawes was quoted as saying ‘Assad was spoken about as a class player when I first came into Associate cricket. In the three years I have been working with him, they are right – he is a world class batter, a genuine all-rounder, and continues to develop as a great leader on and off the field. I enjoy working with him and I am excited about where he is taking this team!’.

While Campbell said that ‘There is a lot of excitement at Cricket Haus after hearing of the nomination. This is great recognition for Assad for all he has done for PNG cricket for a long-time, both on and off the field. Unfortunately, the T20 World Cup did not go ahead his year, so this nomination is a great way to wrap up the year, for all CPNG staff, PNG cricket fans and for Assad himself … For the first time the fans’ voice will be heard in selecting the winners across categories including the Sir Garfield Sobers and Rachael Heyhoe Flint Awards, which celebrate the best overall player from the men’s and women’s game over the past decade. The fan vote will make up 10% of the voting, while votes from an expert panel will make up the remaining 90%.’

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