T20 World Cup 2024 team preview: Papua New Guinea

Winless at their first senior World Cup three years ago, Papua New Guinea return to the global stage aiming to make history

Papua New Guinea T20 World Cup
Papua New Guinea T20 World Cup

The Barramundis are set to compete in their second T20 World Cup following their debut in 2021. Having lost all three group matches to Oman, Scotland and Bangladesh in their previous attempt, they will be hoping to chalk up their first T20 World Cup win this edition.

A cult favourite amongst many associate cricket followers for their exuberant performances and collectivism as a group, the format of this edition of the T20 World Cup will give the Barramundis a platform to showcase their cricket to a wider audience against top opposition.

There have been several changes across the playing and coaching team since 2021, with Simon Atai, Jason Kila, Nosaina Pokana, Damien Ravu and Gaudi Toka out of the squad in favour of Hila Vare, Semo Kamea, Alei Nao and John Kariko. Former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu is coach with Nathan Reardon as assistant. Joining them, Phil Simmons has been recruited as a ‘specialist coach’ for his knowledge of the local conditions in the Caribbean.

How Papua New Guinea Qualified? 

Papua New Guinea progressed through the East Asia Pacific Qualifier in July 2023 with 6 wins from 6 in the double round robin with Japan, Vanuatu and the Philippines. Heading into the qualifiers as heavy favourites, the Barramundis secured the only qualifying spot from the region.  


Sunday, 2nd June 2024, v West Indies, Guyana  

Wednesday, 5th June 2024, v Uganda, Guyana 

Thursday, 13th June 2024, v Afghanistan, Trinidad and Tobago  

Monday, 17th June 2024, v New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago  

Key Players  

In a team where so many players contribute across all sections of the game, it’s difficult to highlight which players are key to their success, but the leadership of Assad Vala has been instrumental to the success of Papua New Guinea in recent years. A consistent run scorer across different places in the top order, Vala has averaged 33.75 in his last 15 T20 innings and offers a threat with the ball in hand with tidy right-arm off-breaks.  

Although Tony Ura has not quite shown the level of consistency required in the last year, the opener is still Papua New Guinea’s most destructive batter once set and is their highest run scorer in T20I. All-rounder Norman Vanua has the capacity to clear boundaries in the middle and lower order alongside effective right-arm medium pace.  

Charles Amini stems from a family of significance in Papua New Guinean cricket community and is central to the team with bat, ball and in the field especially. The all-rounder has the second most wickets the past year with 18 from 12 innings and has averaged 39.12 with the bat in his last 12 innings.  

20-year-old John Kariko is a new addition to the squad since the 2021 World Cup but has been a prominent member of the team for the last year since his debut in March 2023. The slow left-arm orthodox prospect has offered a new threat to the Barramundis bowling attack and will be looking to capitalise on the Caribbean pitches, having already picked up 25 wickets in 16 T20I appearances.  

Form Guide  

Papua New Guinea have played a lot of T20 cricket in the run into this tournament. Since dominating their qualifiers in July 2023, the Barramundis travelled to Malaysia in September 2023 for a T20I Tri-Series alongside Hong Kong, in which Papua New Guinea won all 4 matches to win the series.  

In March 2024 Papua New Guinea lost a closely fought series with Oman 2-1 before winning a T20I Tri-Series with Nepal and Hong Kong later in the month. Having suffered an 85 run loss to Nepal before defeating Hong Kong by 10 wickets, Papua New Guinea defeated Nepal by 86 runs in the final to win the series. The Barramundis the month by playing two fixtures against Malaysia in which they won by 77 runs and lost by 63 runs to tie the series.  

Papua New Guinea managed to complete in their two pre-tournament warm-ups. After losing to Oman in the final over by 3 wickets, the Barramundis lost by the runs on DLS to Namibia to conclude their run to the tournament. In summary, having ended 2023 strongly, 2024 has brought a mixed bag of big wins, heavy losses and close contests.  


They find themselves in an incredibly tough group to progress from but can certainly expect enthusiasm and entertainment from the squad against the big sides of the group. The Barramundis will be eyeballing their fixture against Uganda as their chance to pick up their first T20 World Cup win but will believe that on their day they could overturn any of the teams in their group.  

Prediction: It’s difficult to predict who will win between Papua New Guinea and Uganda, who will both be looking to secure a T20 World Cup victory, but it seems likely with the strength of the rest of the group that the game between will two associates will dictate their standing in the group.  

Papua New Guinea Squad 

Assad Vala (C), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Hiri Hiri, Lega Siaka, Tony Ura, Kiplin Doriga, Hila Vare, Jack Gardner, Chad Soper, Norman Vanua, Semo Kamea, Kabua Morea, Alei Nao, John Kariko  

Coach: Tatenda Taibu

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