The National,Wednesday 13th of February, 2013
AFTER a nervous start, Papua New Guinea’s bowlers sparked panic among the Auckland A (8-256) batting line-up in their 50 overs match in Auckland on Monday.
However a tail-end resurgence saw PNG’s (110) hopes of an upset fade as the hosts won the friendly match by 146 runs at the home of the Auckland University Cricket Club, Colin Maiden Park.
Auckland A had slumped to a below-par 159 for 7 in the 39th over and were in danger of being bowled out for under 175.
However Cornwall Cricket Club’s Rajiv Sharma stitched together 48 and 49-run partnerships with Richard Lane and Lockie Ferguson respectively to lift Auckland A to 256 for 8 in their 50 overs.
Despite being rattled by some fiery pace bowling from Ferguson and Matt Quinn early on, PNG’s chase progressed promisingly to 60-2 in 13 overs before top-scorer Assad Vala departed for 26.
Chris Amini was the only other PNG player to reach 20 as off-spinner Bhupinder Singh nipped out two middle-order wickets before Schmulian mopped up the tail with his leg-spinners to bowl PNG out for 110.
Auckland A’s opening pair of Tim McIntosh and Reece Young, both recent former New Zealand Test representatives, raced to 36 in the opening five overs.
PNG opening bowlers Willie Gavera and Pipi Raho struggled to find the right lines on the flat wicket.
But the introduction of Charles Amini’s leg-spin and paceman Hitolo Areni put the brakes on the scoring, with fomrer Black Cap McIntosh increasingly subdued before he was beaten by an Areni delivery that cut back into the left-hander from around the wicket and bowled him for 20 from 47 balls.
Young left for a brisk 40 to the first delivery after the opening drinks break.
Charles Amini deceived Parnell Cricket Club’s Kirk Bunting as keeper Jack Vare-Kavere completed a sharp stumping to leave Auckland A 89-3 in the 20th over.
Takapuna Cricket Club’s Jono Sole holed out off PNG skipper Chris Amini in the 28th over, while Amini rearranged the stumps of his opposite number, Brad Schmulian.
But the Barramundis’ most impressive bowler was off-spinner Mahuru Dai, conceding only 33 runs and snaring two important wickets.