Vala (124 not out) and Dai (91) put on 200 runs for the fifth wicket as PNG chases down 305-run target with five wickets to spare
After conceding an 81-run first-innings lead and resuming its second innings on Thursday at 66 for two while chasing 305 for victory, the visitor romped to victory with more than a day and five wickets to spare. PNG scored the remaining 239 runs on the third day in just under 64 overs.
Assad Vala, who resumed his innings on 2, returned unbeaten on 124 while number six batsman Mahuru Dai missed a well-deserved century by nine runs when he became Paul van Meekeren’s third wicket of the innings with 23 runs required for a famous victory.
"We are very proud of what we have archived against the Netherlands,” commented PNG captain Jack Vare-Kevere.
“The lessons we’ve learnt in playing the longer version of the game are huge. Our players showed a lot of character. We are still learning and we'll continue to develop in all forms of the game at the international level. We want to achieve a lot more.
“We will take small steps and keep our feet firmly on the ground moving forward. The head coach and support staff have played a big part,” said Vare-Kevere.
PNG resumed its run-chase at 66 for two and soon plunged into deep trouble when it slipped to 82 for four. At that stage, Vala and Dai joined hands and put on 200 runs for the fifth wicket.
The 27-year-old Vala, a former Under-19 batsman, hit 13 fours in a 200-ball innings after completing an excellent century off 164 balls with 10 fours. The 31-year-old Dai faced 160 balls and hit eight fours and a six.
PNG’s pace trio of Loa Nou, John Reva and Willie Gavera were the other stars of their side when they shared 17 Netherlands wickets between them.
Fast bowler Nou took five for 49 in the first innings and finished with six wickets in the match, Reva bagged two for 37 and four for 42 while Gavera ended the match with figures of five for 99.
For Netherlands, van de Meekeren produced a good all-round performance when he scored 34 and 33, and returned match figures of five for 75, while 24-year-old Timm van der Gugten took six for 29 in PNG’s first innings to help his side gain a 81-run lead.
Netherlands captain Peter Borren was disappointed with his side’s performance but gave full credit to PNG. “Obviously it is very disappointing not to have won this game from the position that we were in,” said Borren. “At the end of the day, credit to the PNG guys who batted really well. It’s never really easy to chase 300 runs in the last innings and they have done really well.
“If we look back on the three days, we’re pretty disappointed with our batting, particularly at the top order. It did a bit with the new ball and I think the PNG in the final innings showed us that if you get through the new ball, then the batting conditions were very good. We never managed to do that in both the innings.
“We turned up this morning needing eight wickets and they needing 240 runs and we were in a strong position. Credit to the PNG boys as they batted really well on the third day. We now look forward to the one-day series,” concluded Borren.
Scores in brief:
Netherlands 209 all out (Paul van Meekeren 34; Loa Nou 5-49, John Reva 2-37, Willie Gavera 2-47) and 223 (Timm van der Gugten 57, Wesley Barresi 43; John Reva 4-42, Willie Gavera 3-52)
PNG 128 all out (Timm van der Gugten 6-29) and 305-5 (Assad Vala 124 not out, Mahuru Dai 91, Lega Siaka 49; Paul van Meekeren 3-44)
Result – PNG won by five wickets
Points – PNG 14, Netherlands 6