TEAM NCD (6-126) overcame their biggest threat in the PNG Games cricket competition when they posted a four wicket win over Morobe (124) last Friday, day one of the Games.
But the cricket stronghold needed a shake up early on in the Twenty-20 match at Amini Park before taking control and reaching the target with five overs to spare.
Morobe’s first innings of 124 all out from 19 overs came through enterprising play from opener Ratu Rima, who top scored for the Lae-based team with 37, while captain and veteran batsman Richard Leka, a former Moresby representative, propped up the total with 22 runs.
Morobe’s other contributors with the willow were Iamo Gure (19) and Roge Ravusiro (18).
NCD’s chief wicket taker was Au Mea (4-14) while PNG Barramundi Jeremiah Nigani (2-19) and youngster Laws Rabura (2-24) both collected a double.
The capital’s run chase began disastrously when Morobe had the hosts in trouble before the 10th over three wickets down and teetering on the edge of an upset.
Though NCD batsman Nigani did show some of the form he took with him to Samoa for the East Asia Pacific championships in September, cracking 17 runs off five deliveries which included four consecutive fours, he was not able to stay at the crease long enough to hit NCD to victory.
That honour went to wicketkeeper Jack Vare, who not only steadied the ship but added some more flair to the contest with a game winning 48 not out.
His partner in the rescue was Au Mea (19), whose innings was in contrast to the rampant Vare’s, scoring at a more sedate pace.
Morobe bowlers had the momentum early on with Iamo Gure (3-24) and Billy Maha (2-31) seaming the ball and keeping the NCD top order in check but after Nigani’s whirlwind cameo Morobe slowly started to loose the element of surprise as NCD regrouped through Vare and Mea.
In other news, Team Milne Bay and Oro were not at the Games, meaning Team Central won its scheduled match against Milne Bay through forfeiture while Team West New Britain also recorded the same result against Oro.
All games were played on Amini Park with the adjacent Colts oval not required for the small competition.