Vanuatu Women’s team made history by winning their first-ever ICC Women’s Pathway Event. They emerged victorious at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup East Asia Pacific (EAP) Qualifier, securing their spot at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Global Qualifier scheduled for early 2024. Vanuatu won all six of their matches in dominant fashion.
The tournament kicked off with Vanuatu defeating pre-event favorites, Papua New Guinea, by five wickets. This set the tone for their successful campaign as they continued to claim victories over every other team in front of their home crowd. The team’s captain, Selina Solman, expressed her disbelief and excitement, stating that she can’t wait to make everyone proud at the Global Qualifier.
Vanuatu’s success was further highlighted by their clean sweep of the individual awards in the tournament. Rachel Andrew was named Batter of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament for her impressive performance with 151 runs, nine wickets, and four catches. Vanessa Vira, a 16-year-old on her T20I debut, was awarded Bowler of the Tournament with 11 wickets at an average of 25.17 and a strike rate of 10.9.
The final match of the tournament determined the top spot, with Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia all in contention. Vanuatu’s victory over Papua New Guinea in the opening match proved to be crucial as it ultimately prevented them from securing the top position. Indonesia also performed well, winning four out of their six matches despite missing the first two days due to flight cancellations.
The event was not only a showcase of cricket talent but also a celebration of women’s cricket in the East Asia Pacific. The tournament featured an all-female umpire panel, and the ICC organized the 100% Cricket Women’s Leadership Program alongside the matches. The program aimed to enhance leadership skills, women’s health knowledge, and media skills for female athletes, commentators, and coaches. Former Australian cricketer and Fox Sports commentator, Mel Jones, facilitated the sessions and highlighted the importance of developing skills beyond just playing the game.
Overall, the Vanuatu Women’s team’s triumph at the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup East Asia Pacific Qualifier marks a significant milestone for the country and sets them on a path towards future success at the global stage.