PNG’s Norman Vanua’s five-for and Assad Vala’s ton go in vain
After round three of a total of seven, Ireland is now on a maximum of 60 points, 14 ahead of Netherlands, which beat the United Arab Emirates in its third round match last month. PNG, meanwhile, is tied for sixth with Namibia on 20 points.
Ireland needed full four days to beat PNG, which put up a strong and spirited fight at every stage.
PNG won the toss and put Ireland in to bat, and it did well to contain William Porterfield’s side to 289, thanks to a five-wicket haul by Norman Vanua. Niall O’Brien top scored with 63 as Ireland lost its last five wickets for just 58 runs.
PNG’s batting line up fell to pieces when faced with Ireland’s pace attack, led by the returning Boyd Rankin. PNG were bowled out for just 188 that included a gallant maiden first-class century by Assad Vala. His 231-ball 120 included seven fours.
In the second innings, Ireland’s second O’Brien, Kevin, would top score for his side, scoring 75 along with 58 from Ed Joyce as the champion side declared its innings at 244 for five to set PNG a victory target of 346.
It was always going to be a tall order, PNG’s top order making every effort to go after the target. Once again the Irish fast bowling pack led by Rankin, shut the door on PNG, to pull off a convincing 145-run win.
Rankin capped his return to Ireland duty with three wickets each in both innings as 17 wickets were shared between the Irish pacemen.
A delighted Porterfield said it was great to win three of three and get a step closer to a fifth Intercontinental Cup title.
“I’m very proud of the team effort with everyone contributing at some stage in incredibly tough conditions - the hottest we’ve ever encountered.
“We had great variety in the attack having plenty of options. Big Boyd obviously provided us with that extra pace and bounce and he got crucial breakthroughs. Tim Murtagh showed great control and picked up wickets at the start of both innings. Craig Young also bowled some great deliveries.
“Our spinners might not have taken many wickets, but they kept it tight and allowed me to set attacking fields keeping pressure on them.
“All credit to Papua New Guinea who were very impressive and disciplined, and they made us fight for every wicket.”
Scores in brief
Ireland beat PNG by 145 runs at Tony Ireland stadium, Townsville
Ireland - 289 (Niall O’Brien 63, Gary Wilson 48; Norman Vanua 5-59, John Reva 2-25) and 244-5 dec (Ed Joyce 58, Kevin O’Brien 75*; Loa Nou 2-37)
PNG - 188 (Assad Vala 120; Tim Murtagh 4-33, Boyd Rankin 3-21) and 200 (Sese Bau 45; Boyd Rankin 3-31, Tim Murtagh 2-25, Craig Young 2-50 )
Result: Ireland won by 145 runs
Points: Ireland 20, PNG 0
Fixtures- ICC Intercontinental Cup
10-13 April – Namibia vs Afghanistan, venue tbc
Fixtures- ICC World Cricket League Championship
16 April – Nepal vs Namibia (50 over), University Oval, Kathmandu
18 April – Nepal vs Namibia (50 over), University Oval, Kathmandu
Visit ICC Intercontinental Cup and ICC World Cricket League Championship for more details.