Papua New Guinea confirmed their defeat to the East-Asia Pacific XI in their final group game was a blip as they powered to victory in the Rising Stars Trophy final in Brisbane.
Nevertheless, they were pushed hard by the same opponents before winning by three wickets with seven balls to spare.
EAP Captain Andrew Mansale led by example with a half-century in the final, which helped him, along with PNG quick bowler Andrew Hicks, earn the player of the tournament award.
EAP batted first and recovered from 13 for two to post 137 for six as Mansale made 50 in 33 balls and Trevor Langa hit 20 to steer them to a competitive total.
By contrast, PNG got off to a flyer and after six overs were 65 for two. Tony Ura hammered led the way with 40 in 19 balls before EAP hit back.
Mansale followed up on his batting with one for 16 in four overs but PNG, through Chris Kent's unbeaten 29 in 22 balls, got home in the penultimate over.
"I am very happy to win the tournament," PNG captain Chris Amini said. "The final was a lot closer than we’d hoped for, but we have come away with a gritty win. A win’s a win, no matter if it comes by 10 runs or 10 wickets.
“I really stressed to my boys today that every time you put on the red, yellow and black colours [of PNG], it is an honour.
"We weren’t quite good enough yesterday [in the loss to EAP], so it’s a credit to the boys on how they improved.
"These last 12 months we have been working on getting a winning culture in PNG cricket, especially with the South Australian Premier League and World T20 Qualifiers coming up.”
His counterpart Mansale added: “We almost got the win today in the final. It really could have gone either way in the end. We made a few little mistakes in the field, dropping a couple of catches towards the end of the game, which really cost us the game.
"But overall I am so proud of how the boys applied themselves this week. We have made massive improvements this week, with both and bat ball."
In the third/fourth place play-off, the Australian Indigenous XI beat the Australian Combined Services by nine runs.
The Indigenous side closed on 140 for six before dismissing the Combined Services team for 131.
© Cricket World 2013