PNG U19 Garamuts Squad for 2019 ICC U19 CWC EAP Division 1 qualifiers in Sano, Japan - Image by Pidgin Productions / Cricket_PNG (Twitter)

U19 team’s from Japan and Papua New Guinea will battle for the qualification spot from the East Asia-Pacific region into the main draw of 2020 ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa. After the end of the penultimate day of action from Sano, both Japan and Papua New Guinea have remained undefeated in their three group stage matches so far.

Both Japan and Papua New Guinea have registered wins over U19 team’s from Vanuatu, Samoa and Fiji in the East Asia-Pacific Division 1 qualifiers, being hosted by Japan Cricket Association at Sano International Cricket ground. Vanuatu and Samoa have registered a solitary win over Fiji and now will compete within themselves on the final round of group stage match to determine the 3rd place in the standings at the end of the qualifiers.

Marcus Thurgate (Japan U19) is the leading run-scorer in the tournament so far with 124 runs to his name with two half-centuries, followed by Mavara Hekure (PNG U19) with 120 runs in 3 matches so far. Semo Kamea (PNG U19) leads the wickets charts with 9 scalps in the 3 games so far, followed by Yugandhar Retharekar (Japan U19), Nono Chillia (Vanuatu U19) and Ledua Gauna (Fiji U19), who have picked up 8 wickets in the competition so far. Yugandhar is the only bowler in the tournament so far to have claimed a 5-fer (5/18), which came against Fiji U19.

If Japan manage to get past PNG in the final match, then it will be their first ever appearance in any ICC major tournament (senior or junior level), and will be massive boost for the growth of the game at grass-roots level in the country. PNG Garamuts will look forward to another appearance in the U19 Cricket World Cup after their participation in the 2018 edition held in New Zealand, and follow the senior men’s and women’s squads footsteps, who themselves have qualified for their respective global qualifiers for T20 World Cup’s.

Fiji U19 have already finished their campaign in the EAP Division 1 qualifiers without a win and will be highly disappointed by their performances, with the team managing to post a 100+ team total only once in their 4 completed matches. The loss to Samoa U19, having restricted them to only 92 runs would be the one that will disappoint them the most, as they got bowled out for only 56 runs while chasing.

ICC U19 World Cup East Asia-Pacific Division 1 Qualifiers Points Table

Team Matches Wins Loss Points NRR
Papua New Guinea U19 3 3 0 6 3.195
Japan U19 3 3 0 6 2.409
Vanuatu U19 3 1 2 2 -0.32
Samoa U19 3 1 2 2 -1.609
Fiji U19 4 0 4 0 -2.456

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