PNG warm up in fine style
Papua New Guinea have warmed up for Division Three of the World Cricket League with a whitewash of the Queensland Academy in a three match series played at Gill Park in Townsville.
The first match, on Saturday, saw PNG win the toss and choose to bat. They batted well, especially John Ovia (who's wife and sister in law both played for the PNG women's side last year) with 62 and Jamie Brazier who scored a fantastic 108 from just 73 deliveries with five sixes.
Brazier then chipped in with two wickets in the Queensland Academy reply, but Hitolo Areni was the pick of their bowlers with 3/18 as the Academy side struggled to 161/9 from their 50 overs, losing by 114 runs.
The match on Sunday was a much closer affair. The Academy side batted first this time and reached 214/9 from their 50 overs, mainly thanks to Tony Hampson's innings of 70. Jamie Brazier again starred for PNG, this time taking 3/38 with his off-spin.
PNG wicket-keeper Ravusiro was the backbone of their reply, scoring 76. Wickets fell around him, but the last pair held on to take PNG over the line with just three balls to spare.
Monday's final match saw the Academy team again bat first. Star of the show for PNG this time was Chris Amini, captain for this match (and son of a mother and father who have both played for PNG) who took 3/39 with his medium pace. Mahuru Dai then starred with the bat with an innings of 84 not out as PNG chased down the target with 10 overs to spare, losing seven wickets in the process.
This has been a very successful series for Papua New Guinea. In previous events they have tended to reply on Jamie Brazier a little too much, but this series has shown that they have other players who can step up when needed. They will certainly be considered favourites for the Division Three tournament after this performance.