PNG cricket fans and the general public got a treat yesterday from seven Australian cricket legends.
Former Australian Test and one-day cricket star Damien Martyn smashed an unbeaten 92, including 11 fours and three 6s, for the Hebou Hammers (5-159) in the Pacific MMI and MVIL “Don’t drink and drive” Twenty20 Legends bash final at Amini Park in Port Moresby yesterday.
His scintillating knock took his team to a thrilling victory over Pacific MMI Marlins (4-158).
The Marlins batted first in the final, with former Australian batsman Greg Blewett (57) and big hitting teammate Andrew Symonds (41) dishing out a smorgasbord of big shots. With the help of young opener Lega Siaka (25), they compiled a competitive total.
In the Hammers’ reply, Martyn’s innings was reminiscent of the type former Australian one-day middle order specialist Michael Bevan was famous for, when he came to the crease at 1-0 in the second over and it was soon 2-2 as another Hammer wicket fell.
Both openers Tanti Heni (0) and Queensland Bulls great Jimmy Maher (1) were removed cheaply by former Australian Test spearhead Michael Kasprowicz to have the Hammers’ run chase in tatters early on.
But it was Martyn’s fluent strokeplay and superb timing that had the crowd of hundreds spellbound. The 39-year-old Western Australian was ably supported by PNG U19 representative and rising star Sese Bau, who cracked five 4s in his 20.
PNG national cricket coaching director and former Australian one-day tearaway, Andy Bichel (30), combined with Martyn in a 56-run partnership for the 4th wicket to get the score to 4-120 by the 16th over.
From there Martyn, who came close to getting a ton, and Lae-based batsman Billy Maha (19 not out), brought down the curtain on an entertaining two days of cricket, with Cricket PNG chairman Mick Nades hailing the event as a success. Nades paid tribute to sponsors Pacific MMI, Motor Vehicle Insurance Ltd, Hebou Construction, bemobile, BSP, Brian Bell and Bishop Brothers and Cricket PNG general manager Bill Leane for giving cricket fans and the general public a chance to see some of the biggest names in Australian and world cricket play live.
Leane also drew attention to the local stars who participated over the two days of cricket action saying they had performed exceptionally along side the games’ greats.
“Isn’t it wonderful to have these Australian cricket legends up here to play in front of us and isn’t it also wonderful to see our local boys play so well next to them,” Lean said afterward.
The six teams for the Legend’s T20 bash included talent from all cricket playing centres in the country and from the U15, U17 and U19 ranks as well as senior players who no doubt benefited from playing alongside the seven Australian cricketers.
The seven will visit two schools today, Ela Murray and Gordon International and then meet with the Australian High Commissioner Mick Moraitis before returning to Australia later in the week.