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Vala century in vain as Namibia see off PNG

Bernard Scholtz, Namibia
The tri-series in the United States of America, between Papua New Guinea, Namibia and the hosts, ended on Monday, 23 September with Nambia easing to a 27-run victory over PNG in Lauderhill, Florida.

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It was PNG’s eighth consecutive loss in the Cricket World Cup League 2. They fought hard at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium, with captain Assad Vala scoring a 114-ball 104, but they eventually fell short, scoring 233 runs in reply to Namibia’s 260.

As for Namibia, it was a fitting end to a fine tour. They lost their opener against USA, but have since secured three consecutive victories to move to second in the Cricket World Cup League 2 table, behind top-placed Scotland only on net run-rate. All of Scotland, Namibia, USA and Oman are tied on six points, each having won three and lost one, while PNG occupy the wooden spoon position, with no wins in eight.

Each of their players contributed, with bat, ball and in the field, and it was a complete team effort from the African side.

Assad Vala's century for PNG went in vain
Assad Vala's century for PNG went in vain

Namibia opted to bat, and Jean Kotze walked out to open along with Stephen Baard. It was a fine decision, as the pair put on 60. It was captain Vala who broke the stand, in the 13th over, snaring Kotze for a 36-ball 25. Craig Williams (32) then joined Baard, and the pair put on another solid stand of 64. PNG needed Vala once more to break the stand, the captain seeing off Williams.

But Baard continued. He got to his half-century and ploughed on, eventually falling in the 36th over for a well-made 97-ball 73. Zane Green (41) and Johannes Smit (33) didn’t let the scoring slow down, though, and with Jan Fryllnck adding a 22-ball 27* Namibia were lifted to 260/9.

PNG, desperate for a win, started well, with the openers putting on 29 in seven overs before Gerhard Erasmus took a stunning catch to see off Tony Ura for a 25-ball 28. However, there was no collapse. Simon Atai partnered Vala, and their during the course of their 80-run stand, it seemed PNG would mount a real challenge to Namibia’s target.

Atai was dismissed for a 57-ball 24, though, and the wickets started tumbling, with Bernard Scholtz running riot to end with 4/27. Vala stayed strong at the other end, but was not able to form partnerships and, unfortunately, a misunderstanding in the middle eventually led to him being run out for 104. Not long after that, PNG were bowled out for 233 in 47.3 overs.

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