Papua New Guinea made history on Sunday, 27 October, when they qualified for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020, and the cricket-watching public recognised just how big a feat it was for the nation.
The moment their place in Australia was confirmed, the PNG players didn’t really know how to react. There was a lot of fist-pumping and cheering, and later, some tears as well. Sample this:
At one point today PNG were 19/6 against Kenya, with their hopes of qualifying automatically for the #T20WorldCup rapidly fading before their eyes.
An inspired comeback and a nervous wait later and they’re going to Australia.
— T20 World Cup (@T20WorldCup) October 27, 2019
Tears of joy!
World Cup is a dream no more.
They believed, they excelled and they will inspire this beloved country. PNG!
Sing that victory song loud and proud. https://t.co/6sPaWIlNUe
— Chris Amini (@cramini) October 27, 2019
Ian Bishop, former West Indies cricketer and esteemed commentator, put into perspective why the feat prompted such powerful emotions.
It’s not news that may be resonating with as many fans around the world as it should But the fact that Papua New Guinea have qualified for their first Men’s T20 World Cup in 2020 is one of modern crickets amazing feel good stories.
— Ian bishop (@irbishi) October 27, 2019
Once the emotions settled down, there was barely-contained excitement.
WE’RE GOING TO THE BIG DANCE!!!!!
— Charles Jordan Amini (@CJAmini) October 27, 2019
It was a special moment, one that showed just far the game had come, and just how much it’s spreading its wings. R Ashwin, the premier India off-spinner, was one among many who cheered that.
— Ashwin Ravichandran (@ashwinravi99) October 27, 2019
PNG’s automatic qualification came at the expense of Netherlands, who will have to take the play-offs route if they are to make it to Australia. Despite that, there was plenty of goodwill and spirit on display.
There were pats on the back from other cricketing nations as well, including Ireland, who know well how much of a feat it is to rise through the ranks in this sport and become a global force.
The celebrations will go through the night.