In intermittent rain at Bisini Grounds, Samoa batted first and struggled to break the shackles due to straight bowling and good fielding pressure from the PNG side and finished at 9 for 103 off its 20 overs.
Tanya Ruma led the PNG attack with 3-11 off four overs while Norma Ovasuru and Boni David supported well with two wickets each.
Regina Lili’i was once again the mainstay of the Samoan batting, scoring 30 off 41 balls. Extras were second top score with 30, including 21 wides.
At 3-49 in the tenth over, Samoa looked poised to launch an assault but lost regular wickets and momentum after that.
The innings looked to have swung to Samoa in the 16th over when Kaia Arua conceded 21 runs (five wides, two no balls and two boundaries), but Ovarasu struck back in the next over to grab the vital wicket of Lili’i for 30, with Helen Buruka taking the catch.
An opening stand between of 37 Ovasuru and Varoi Morea set PNG well on course, but when Marita Paulo took the wickets of Morea, Konio Oala and Pauke Siaka in quick succession to have PNG 3-50, nerves became frayed.
When key batter Ovasuru was bowled for 36 by Matile Uliao to make it 4-52, the mood turned to shock.
Paulo then bowled Boni David for 2 and at 5-58, PNG’s tilt at gold looked done and dusted.
Ruma’s rearguard effort of 23 not out kept PNG in it, but three run outs in nine balls reduced them to 9-96 with three balls left and the hosts fell just short at 9 for 100 as the rain got even heavier.
Paulo’s spell of 4-23 was the key to Samoa’s famous win.
The bronze medal game was also an edgy affair, with Fiji beating Vanuatu by 12 runs.
Thanks to a magnificent knock of 72 from Ruci Murilayo, Fiji totalled 8 for 118 off its 20 overs before bowling Vanuatu out for 106 in 19.1 overs.
Muriyalo came in with her side perilously placed at 5-30 and single-handedly swung the game around before being dismissed from the final ball of the innings.
The 28-year-old hit seven sixes and four fours off just 36 balls in a whirlwind innings with opener Ilisapeci Waqavakatova the only other Fiji batswomen to hit double figures with 10.
Selina Solman did early damage for Vanuatu with the ball, taking 3-3 off her four overs, and was well supported by Valentia Langiatu with 2-21.
Jessica Chilia suffered a mauling from the flashing blade of Muriyalo and ended with figures of 0-33 off two overs, with Johanna Sokomanu faring little better at 1-28 off her two overs.
Seventeen-year-old Rachel Andrew held the Vanuatu reply together, scoring 43 off as many balls before being trapped in front by Loma Batinibulu. The wicket left Vanuatu at 3-86 off 12 overs but opened the door.
Fiji then took the final eight Vanuatu wickets for 20 runs, including three run outs in the final five balls to complete the 12-run win and win bronze.
Intriguingly, both medal match results reversed the outcomes of Friday’s round robin matches between the same two sides.
By Dr Pilipus Garpet, Games News Service