PNG Undefeated As Rising Stars Trophy Begins

The Papua New Guinea and EAP captains shake hands ahead of their match

Papua New Guinea (PNG) made a perfect start to day one of the Asia Pacific Rising Stars Trophy and are the only team with a perfect record in the Twenty20 tournament.

In their opening game, PNG comfortably defeated East Asia-Pacific (EAP) by six wickets and they then defeated the Australian Indigenous Development Team by the same margin.

In the PNG v EAP match, EAP were bowled out for 81. Andrew Hicks tore through the EAP batting line up, taking four for 13 from his four overs including two wickets in as many balls. Hicks bowled a superb length and troubled the EAP batsman with his height and accuracy. Raymond Hoada also chipped in with three for 24.

Opening batsman CJ Amini proved to be EAP’s only resistance for the innings. Amini was the last man out for a hard-fought 28 off 44 balls.

PNG’s chase got off to a shaky start with Tony Ura the victim of a spectacular direct-hit run-out by Maciu Gauna at fine-leg. Assad Vala and Mahuru Dai consolidated but were both dismissed with the score at 35.

EAP were in with a sniff of victory, but Kila Pala played a fluent counter-attacking innings of 30 from 16 balls and guided PNG to victory with 6 wickets to spare.

Speaking after the match, Hicks said that he was delighted with his first outing for PNG.

“The ball was swinging early, which is always nice and makes it a lot harder for the batsmen. There was quite a bit of bounce in the wicket which was also helpful.

“This is my first tournament for PNG so I think I’ve made a pretty good start. I’m just looking to do my job for the team, take a few early wickets and keep it tight.”

EAP coach Peter Wooden was disappointed with how his side performed against the tournament favourites.

“We had a great opportunity there to bat well. We talked about building partnerships and the players we have here are definitely good enough to put up a better score than 82 against PNG.

“The good news is that it is early in the week and the boys are very good listeners and learners. We’re hoping that over the course of the tournament, we continue to learn and improve.

“CJ [Amini] showed us that if you hang in there early on your innings, then look to put the bad ball away and rotate the strike, you can actually perform very well.”

The Australian Indigenous Development side provided PNG with a tougher contest in the afternoon match.

The Indigenous team batted first, reaching a competitive 129 for seven off their 20 overs, with Adam McDermott top scoring with a well compiled 39 off 47 balls. Hicks again did the damage with the ball for PNG, taking three for 18 off four, including a maiden.

In response, PNG were slow out of the blocks and were 51 for three in the 10th over. Tony Ura and Mahuru Dai steadied the ship, putting on 65 for the fourth wicket. When Ura departed for 69 in the 17th over with the score at 117, Dai guided the team home, finishing with 27.

In the other matches, the Indigenous Development team defeated the Australian Combined Services by 55 runs. Brad Stout led the way for the Indigenous side with a blistering 68 off 53 deliveries, helping to post 140 for five. Dylan Fuller then did the damage with the ball for the Indigenous team, finishing with the excellent figures of four for seven from four overs.

EAP also defeated the Combined Services team, chasing down their total of 98 off 17 overs.  Lega Siaka hit a match-winning 52 off 32 balls to get EAP over the line after the team was in trouble early at four for 20 in the sixth over.

The tournament resumes on Wednesday at Redlands.

© Cricket World 2013