If one match in ten in the ICCís new League 2 competition turns out to be as exciting as the first, played between Papua New Guinea and Oman at Aberdeenís Mannofield ground on Wednesday, it will be a terrific advertisement for Associates cricket.

It took a fine half-century from Sandeep Goud, and an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 90 with Fayyaz Butt, to see Oman to a four-wicket victory, achieved with five balls to spare, after Papua New Guinea fought hard to defend their disappointingly modest total of 229 for eight.

Put in to bat by Zeeshan Maqsood, Papua New Guinea got off to a promising start, debutant Gaudi Toka sharing a bright opening stand with Tony Ura which yielded 77 runs in just 15 overs before he was bowled by Zeeshan Maqsood for 29.

Ura and Assad Vala saw their side past the hundred, but then Khawar Ali trapped Ura in front for 54, the third time he has reached a half-century in 19 ODIs.

Eight overs later Khawar struck again, Vala caught by Fayyaz Butt at deep mid-off for 24, and suddenly Oman were back in the game.

Skipper Lega Sika contributed a valuable 41, but the Omanis maintained the pressure, and when Sese Bau was fifth out with the total on 183 it was the trigger for a middle-order collapse which saw four wickets fall in the space of six overs for the addition of just 14 runs.

Chad Soper managed to get the total up to 229, finishing with an unbeaten 29, but with Zeeshan Maqsood taking three for 35 from his ten overs Oman could be relatively satisfied at the innings break.

Needing just over four and a half an over, Oman began their chase steadily despite the early loss of Khawar Ali, the tempo then picking up with a run-a-ball knock of 41 from Aqib Ilyas.

But PNG kept picking up wickets, and with the total at 108 for five it looked as if they might be getting on top.

With the arrival of Goud at the crease, however, the match took another Ė and as it turned out, final Ė twist, as he and Suraj Kumar worked the ball around, keeping the asking rate within bounds.

When Kumar was run out with the score at 144, 88 were still needed at almost six and a half an over, and by the end of the 43rd the required rate had crept up to eight.

Goud relieved the pressure with a six off Damian Ravu, but with five overs left 37 were still needed. That became 23 off the last three, but then another six, this time off Soper, brought up Goudís half-century and swung the balance Omanís way.

The target was now down to a run a ball off the last two, and with Goud and Fayyaz taking ten off Norman Vanuaís over it was left to Goud to finish it, appropriately enough, with a six of the first ball of Soperís last.

Goud finished with 67, made from 72 deliveries with two fours and three sixes, earning him the Player of the Match award, while Fayyaz ended on 32.