Chasing 203 for victory, Charles Amini Jnr and Vani Vagi Morea were the stars for PNG, both notching up half centuries after their side were in trouble at 5-76 early in the chase
Chasing 203 for victory, Charles Amini Jnr and Vani Vagi Morea were the stars for PNG, both notching up half centuries after their side were in trouble at 5-76 early in the chase.
“I’m over the moon, I’m speechless,” said Amini. “After Vani got out I told myself I have to pass the score. I’m proud of the achievement so far, that’s one out of two. We want to make it two out of two tomorrow.”
PNG coach and former New Zealand cricketer Dipak Patel says the win was a tremendous team effort and something he is honoured to have been a part of.
“I look back at some of the great victories I’ve been a part of and it brings back a lot of memories,” said Patel. “This is totally different as a coach as you have different emotions but
I’m just so pleased for the guys. They’ve worked particularly hard over the last two or three months and we’ve changed a lot. At times they’ve sort of looked at me sideways asking me where I was coming from, but today they summed it up and it was a great team effort.”
Hong Kong won the toss and elected to bat but quickly found themselves on the back foot at 2-8 with gun opener Irfan Ahmed trapped LBW for 6.
A mix of youth and experience steadied the ship for Hong Kong with captain Jamie Atkinson and 17-year-old Anshuman Rath putting on 47 runs before the younger of the pair was caught off the bowling of Assad Vala.
Hong Kong began losing wickets at regular intervals, and when Atkinson was bowled by Mahuru Dai for a classy 59, a respectable total seemed unlikely with his side 7-122.
However, 42 from Aizaz Khan and 35 from Haseeb Amjad helped Hong Kong push their total up to a competitive all out for 202 off 48.3 overs.
Pipi Raho, Chris Amini, Assad Vala and Mahuru Dai each took 2 wickets for PNG.
Hong Kong made the perfect start in the second innings when Tanwir Afzal got PNG opener Tony Ura caught behind for just 2 runs.
However, that brought together the dangerous combination of Assad Vala and Lega Siaka who made their intentions clear from the outset with some hard hitting.
When Vala departed for 10, Geraint Jones playing his 50th ODI after 49 for England, paired with Siaka and they lifted the score to 2-66 and PNG looked in control.
But in yet another momentum swing, Afzal claimed the key wicket of Siaka. This was followed moments later by two quick wickets from Irfan Ahmed and Hong Kong were back in the box seat with PNG 5-76 off 16.5 overs.
With the match fast slipping away from PNG, one final twist in the script remained with Vani Vagi Morea and Charles Amini Jnr piling on a 91 run 6th wicket partnership off 119 balls to complete a fairy tale victory for the Barramundis.
Morea was eventually out for 54, while Amini saw out the innings to finish 61 not out. Ahmed was the best of the bowlers for Hong Kong taking 3 wickets.
The second and final ODI in the series will take place tomorrow from 10am local time in Townsville. The match will be live streamed at www.youtube.com/icc, www.emtv.com.pg, www.hkcricket.org and www.cricket.com.au
Scores in Brief
At Tony Ireland Stadium, Townsville: PNG v Hong Kong
Hong Kong 202 all out, 48.3 overs (J Atkinson 59, A Khan 42; A Vala 2-17, P Raho 2-32 )
Papua New Guinea 203-6, 39 overs (CJ Amini 61*, V Morea 54; I Ahmed 3-51)
Papua New Guinea won by 4 wickets