THE PNG Under 19 Garamuts yesterday staged a most inspirational fight-back to create its own slice of history in the Plate stages against Afghanistan at the U19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand.
To put it simply, PNG were playing for respect and to establish credibility and continue their learning and growth under the tutaledge of Andy Bichel. PNG were soundly beaten by three of the best teams in world cricket, Pakistan, West Indies and Bangaldesh over the last week and were keen to show the cricket world that they were not just there to make up numbers.
The Afghans started warm favourites owing to a previous win over the Garamuts in Canada last year and upon winning the toss chose to take the field hoping to dismiss PNG for a low total.
After 10 overs this decision seemed the right one with PNG having a disastrous start to lose 5/32 with the top order of Lega Siaka (3), Heni Siaka (9), Vagi Oala (5), Tony Ura (0) and the inform Jason Kila (2) all parked back in the stands. The situation only got worse with PNG crashing to 7/58 before a Sese Bau led partnership with Steven Eno started the resusitation of the innings to move the total to 8/100 with Sese being dismissed for 43. PNG then lost another quick wicket with Raymond Haoda out for a golden duck to make it 9/100 with over 20 overs remaining.
Steven Eno and tailender Timothy Mou then set about batting out the overs and trying to build a defendable score. Eno ended up with his maiden international 50 finishing (53 not out) and Timothy Mou ended up with (unbeaten on 27).
PNG completed its 50 overs at 9/173 and a total to defend.
PNG returned serve through some brilliant new ball bowling with Raymond Haoda claiming four wickets and Timothy Mou (one wicket) creating momentum to have Afghanistan 5/40 after 12 overs.
Afghanistan then had a 59 run partnership to bring there total to 5/99 before John Boge Reva struck to regain control for PNG. Still with their top scorer (Rashooli 48) at the crease the game was far from won for PNG and it took a piece of brilliant fielding by Charles Amini Jr to effect a runout with Steven Eno to take the score to 7/106. From there the PNG bowlers smelt blood and went in for the kill closing out the Afghanistan innings to dismiss them for 143 and to win the match by 30 runs with 12 overs to spare.
Stars with the Ball for PNG were Raymond Haoda Jnr with 5/34 and John Boge Reva with 3/34. Steven Eno also continued his brilliant day to take three catches and a run out.
The ICC awarded Raymond Haoda Jr “Man of the Match” for his 5 wicket haul.
It was evident that PNG’s team ethic and spirit won out on the day against a very dour opponent and the day was full of memorable moments.
PNG now play Bangladesh tomorrow in Palmerston North in a Plate semi final with the winner advancing to the play-off for 9th place and the loser going to the playoff for 11th spot in the U19 World rankings.