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Assad Vala hopes PNG's World Cup appearance will inspire more children to play the sport

The PNG captain also called Kiplin Doriga's lower-order rearguard 'the blueprint of what we expect from him'

Mohammad Isam
Mohammad Isam
21-Oct-2021
'I am really proud of the effort of the boys, but the best is yet to come' - Assad Vala  •  ICC via Getty

'I am really proud of the effort of the boys, but the best is yet to come' - Assad Vala  •  ICC via Getty

Papua New Guinea will understandably leave Muscat crestfallen, after bowing out winless from the T20 World Cup. After their 84-run loss to Bangladesh, their captain Assad Vala embodied their frustrations and spoke about where they will need to improve when they are back home.
"I am proud that we are here but I wouldn't say we achieved," Vala said. "We wanted to win games here. Not to make up the numbers. Losing all three games is pretty disappointing. If we could play our best cricket, we would have given ourselves the chance. We were up and down. We have to find out how to get the best out of ourselves."
When asked what the team would leave the T20 World Cup with, Vala picked their fielding out as a positive but said there was a lot of room for improvement with bat and ball.
"We need to be better," he said. "Batsmen need to score consistently. Bowlers have to execute well under pressure. Fielding improved in the three games but we can be better there as well.
"There's a lot of learnings but we were not good enough. I think especially our batting really let us down. No one put their hands up, especially myself and the senior players."
On Thursday, PNG bowled contained Bangladesh to 113 for 4 over their first 15 overs, but leaked 68 runs in the last five. Then their chase of 182 fell apart from the start - they stumbled to 29 for 7 before being bowled out for 97.
"We believed we could win if we had a good start. It has been costing us," Vala said. "We have been losing too many wickets in the powerplay. It is hard to come back from it.
"I think we haven't played a complete match. We started well in this match, but we went for 63 in the last five overs. Our bowlers couldn't perform under pressure."
Kiplin Doriga's unbeaten 46 got PNG up to their eventual total of 97, and ensured they batted on until midway through the final over. "I think he played really well," Vala said. "He pulled us out and got us to 97 runs.
"He has been really good in the last two games. We need him to keep working hard and be more consistent. It is the blueprint of what we expect from him."
Vala said the legacy of this side, the first from PNG to play in a World Cup, would be the influx of more children into the game.
"There are a lot of kids playing these days. If we can have more juniors coming through the system, we will have more depth. I am really proud of the effort of the boys, but the best is yet to come. We have learned a lot from this tournament."

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84