Barras primed for top showing


PAPUA New Guinea take on the Philippines in the opening fixture of the ICC East Asia Pacific T20 Regional finals Amini Park, Port Moresby today.
The top-seeded Barramundis are expected to finish on top in the tri-series that will also include Vanuatu.
The condensed schedule will see coach Joe Dawes’ side play two matches today (the second one against Vanuatu at 1.30pm) followed by a game tomorrow and on Sunday to round off the three-day competition.
Cricket PNG general manager Lee McDowell, pictured, admitted it had been a frustrating week with heavy rain last Friday and over the weekend leaving the field water-logged.
The weather has since cleared up and despite the competition starting two days late, McDowell said the teams, officials and CPNG were keen to get the comp underway today. “The umpires and ICC officials inspected the field yesterday and today and they’ve given the go ahead for the competition to start tomorrow,” McDowell said.
“The ICC officials were impressed with our ground staff for the work they did to get the field ready so we’re hopeful.
“Thankfully, we’ve had no rain this week and the field’s dried up and been passed fit according to ICC regulations so we’ll see a condensed schedule where PNG will play two matches on Friday and one and Saturday and another on Sunday and at the end of it all the top-placed side advances to the next stage of the World T20 qualifiers.”
The Barramundis will play the Philippines for the first time and coach Dawes said he expected his side, which has been training over the last six weeks to win the tri-series and get in valuable game time ahead of their next assignment which is the 50-over World Cup qualifiers in Namibia next month.
The side will be captained by Assad Vala with Charles Amini Junior his deputy. The squad also includes big-hitting opener Tony Ura, stroke maker Lega Siaka as well as PNG’s leading pacemen Norman Vanua and Chad Soper.
The first match starts at 9.30am followed by the second game from 1.30pm with PNG playing both visiting sides.
Admission to Amini Park is free with CPNG encouraging fans to turn out to watch international cricket played in the country for the first time since last October when PNG hosted Hong Kong.