Ura stars as Barras dominate


PAPUA New Guinea have advanced through to the next stage of the T20 World Cup qualifiers after finishing on top of the ICC East Asia Pacific T20 Regional finals in Port Moresby.
PNG Barramundis opener Tony Ura was the player of the series hitting 47 and 65 in his side’s first two games on Friday before rattling off a brilliant 106 against the Philippines in a rain affected match on Saturday.
Ura than combined with paceman Norman Vanua to win their last match, a shortened 14-over clash against Vanuatu yesterday.
Despite rain affecting matches over the weekend, the Barramundis dominated their games winning all four starting with a pair of victories over visiting teams the Philippines and Vanuatu on Friday.
PNG scored a 133-run over the Philippines in their first game of the EAP T20 Regionals finals on Friday. PNG defended their 216-run total restricting the Philippines to 83 runs for the loss of eight wickets at Amini Park.
Captain Assad Vala top-scored with 68 runs and vice-captain Charles Amini Jr added 60 while Ura (47) got the innings off to a great start. All-rounder Chad Soper took two wickets in an over as PNG restricted Pinoy batsmen.
In the second match, PNG beat Vanuatu by eight wickets after the visitors scored 124/6 in their innings. Lega Siaka took two for seven while Ura’s 65 runs came off 37 balls as PNG reached the 125-run target in the 15th over for the loss of two wickets.
The Joe Dawes-coached side finished on top in the tri-series on seven points from three wins while Saturday’s match against the Philippines was abandoned after rain washed out the second innings with the teams sharing a point each.
Surprisingly, the Philippines finished second on three points thanks to their win over Vanuatu in a five-over fixture yesterday.
Vanuatu, the Pacific Games champions, finished with two points from their solitary win over the Philippines on Saturday morning. Vanuatu lost two matches yesterday including a 14-over fixture against PNG with men from Port Vila scoring 56/6.
Siaka took 3-16 and PNG reached the target (57 runs) in 2.4 overs with Ura and Vanua dealing mostly in sixes and fours in their combined 16-ball stay at the crease.
Cricket PNG general manager Lee McDowell said PNG had performed well over the three days and singled out Ura’s effort with the bat as worthy of the play-of-the-series award.
“Tony was brilliant on the second day hitting 106 but unfortunately the game was declared a no-result because rain forced the game to be called off before the Philippines could chase the 206 runs PNG set,” McDowell said.
“Both teams shared a point from that game.”
McDowell also paid tribute to groundsman Dean Reeds from Queensland who was brought in to help prepare the Amini Park pitch for the series.
“Dean did an amazing job for us especially after the field was under water from last week’s heavy rain. He and the staff did an awesome job to have the ground ready for play by Friday and thanks to him we managed to have a series.”
With the first-place finish PNG qualified for the final stage of the 2020 T20 World Cup qualifiers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in October.
PNG will be part of a 10-team tournament with the top six advancing to the World Cup in Australia next year.