Papua New Guinea have joined a pretty exclusive club after beating Hong Kong in their first ever ODI today. Only five teams before today - Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Bermuda and Afghanistan - had won their first ODI. PNG's four wicket win made them the sixth.
Hong Kong, playing their eighth ODI, won the toss at the Tony Ireland stadium in Townsville and captain Jamie Atkinson chose to bat first. Things started badly for them with openers Irfan Ahmed and Waqas Barkat both out within the first three overs, with the score on just eight.
Anshuman Rath - one of two Hong Kong players making their ODI debuts - and Jamie Atkinson settled the innings with a 47 run partnership for the third wicket, which ended when Rath was out for 21. Atkinson went on to score 60 - his first ODI fifty - but no other batsman was able to stay with him, and he was the seventh man out with the score on 122.
Aizaz Khan and Haseeb Amjad were able to give the Hong Kong total a little respectability, scoring 42 and 35 respectively. Hong Kong were bowled out for 202, with six PNG bowlers all taking wickets.
Papua New Guinea struggled early on in their innings, with openers Assad Vala and Tony Ura both out cheaply. Lega Siaka scored 32 and Geraint Jones - playing his 50th ODI over 8 years after his 49th and becoming the ninth player to play ODIs for two countries - scored 20.
It wasn't until Charles Amini joined Vani Morea at the fall of the fifth wicket that the PNG innings kicked into gear. The pair put on 92 for the sixth wicket before Morea was out for 54. Amini guided the team home, scoring 61 from 57 balls as Papua New Guinea completed their four wicket win.
The sides will meet tomorrow at the same venue for the final match of the series.
Papua New Guinea beat Hong Kong by 4 wickets
Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville, 8 November
Hong Kong 202 (48.3 overs, J Atkinson 60, Aizaz Khan 42, Haseeb Amjad 35)
Papua New Guinea 203-6 (40 overs, CJ Amini 61*, V Morea 54, Irfan Ahmed 3-52)