Barras favoured

Main Stories, Sports

The National – Thursday, June 23, 2011

PNG have earned the favourites tag heading into next month’s ICC East Asia Pacific cricket championship in Port Moresby.
The tournament, which will serve as a first round qualifier for the Twenty20 (T20) World Cup next year in the Carribean, will see the Hebou Barramundis take on the likes of Melanesian rivals Vanuatu and Fiji as well as interesting duels with a revamped Samoa and Japan.
The Barras have rightfully taken pole position heading into the July 4-7 tournament on the back of a superb 2011 season which included a top two finish at the ICC World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Hong Kong last January followed by a top three finish in a division 2 tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and winning a gold medal at the Arafura Games last month.
PNG, the highest ranked team in the EAP region as well as being the defending champions, are expected to claim the silverware at home.
Cricket PNG yesterday announced  the Barramundis team for the citifon-sponsored championship which will be led by all-rounder Rarua Dikana.
The Barramundis: Dikana (c), Jack Vare (vc), Tony Ura, Sese Bau, John Boge Reva, Chris Amini, Hitolo Areni, Willie Gavera, Joel Tom, Van Vagi Morea, Charles Amini, Mahuru Dai, Assad Vala and Jason Kila.
Ninteen-year-olds Bau and Charles Amini Jr will earn their full caps in the senior side while two another teenagers Chris Kent, 19, and Raymond Haoda Jr, 18, were unavailable.
The Barras are scheduled to play Vanuatu in its opening T20 match on July 4 followed by Samoa later the same day.
PNG will then take on Fiji and Japan the next day and have a bye on July 6 before the playoffs on July 7.