THE PNG U19 Garamuts defeated USA by a solitary wicket last Friday after chasing down 179 but then lost to Afghanistan by six wickets the following day in a mixed bag of results for the red, black and gold at the U19 cricket World Cup Qualifiers in Toronto, Canada.
Already assured a place at the 2011 U19 World Cup in New Zealand, PNG did well to restrict the Americans to 179 in 48 overs, thanks to a tournament best bowling display by skipper John Reva who claimed 7-34.
PNG’s run chase began strongly with Lega Tau (38) and Sese Bau (44) both playing cautiously before Tony Ura injected some energy into the batting with a rapid fire 42 from 35 balls which included six boundaries.
The wheels nearly came off as the US slowed PNG’s run rate with regular wickets in the middle session before Charles Amini Jr (4 not out) hit the winning runs in the 50th over with a wicket in hand.
PNG finished at 9-180 for a close but deserved one wicket win.
Playing Afghanistan the following day was always going to be a tough ask and on this occasion it was as the Garamuts pounded out 197 runs in the first innings but the Afghans were more than a match overhauling the target in 36 overs.
PNG’s Tony Ura was again the batsman to watch.
His 59 runs at nearly a run a ball ensured PNG put on a decent total.
Afghan bowler Zakiullah Zaki stood out with 4-34 in his 10 overs with tight performances from the rest of the attack.
However, it was the batting that was the difference as opener Ayoub Ahmadzai (79) and number five Noor ul Haq (70) both put on sterling performances ensuring their team reached the target with wickets and overs to spare.
The Garamuts play the Netherlands today and should secure a top four position with a win against the Dutch.