Lega Siaka’s maiden first-class century was to no avail as Papua New Guinea went down by nine wickets to United Arab Emirates on the fourth and final day of their ICC Intercontinental Cup game on Monday (April 10).
Overnight 152 for 4 in its second innings and needing a further 95 to avoid an innings defeat, PNG piggybacked on Siaka’s undefeated 142 to 286 in its second innings, thereby setting UAE a target of 40 runs for its maiden win in the competition at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
The host lost L Sreekumar to Norman Vanua, but Shaiman Anwar and Rohan Mustafa, the skipper, saw them home as UAE raced away to 42 for 1 inside six overs.
When PNG resumed its second innings, much of its hopes revolved around the fifth-wicket pair of Siaka and Sese Bau. The two had already put on 46 by close on Sunday, and for PNG to have any chance of salvaging a draw, it was imperative that this pair bat deep into the day. The partnership had moved to 67 when UAE broke through in the day’s 10th over through Mohammad Naveed, who had Sese Bau caught behind for 30.
Wickets then tumbled in a rush at one end as Siaka kept battling away at the other. There were handy stands of 44 with Jack Vare for the seventh wicket and of 35 for the next with Vanua, but in the context of the game, all it did was delay the inevitable.
By the time Naveed evicted Nosaina Pokana, the last man, for a duck, Siaka had motored along to 142, which came off 232 deliveries and contained as many as 23 hits to the fence.
Naveed, the right-arm medium pacer, took four of the six wickets to fall on Monday morning on his way to figures of 4 for 78 while Imran Haider, the legspinner who had taken three wickets on Sunday evening, finished with 4 for 93.
Faced with a modest target, UAE blitzed home on the back of Anwar’s 19-ball 32 not out that included seven fours.
Its first win in five games helped UAE clamber off the foot of the table and move to seventh slot, with 27 points. PNG, which slumped to its third defeat in five matches, remained static at fourth spot, with 40 points to its name.
Only one more game is left in the fifth round, with Scotland scheduled to host Namibia in Edinburgh from June 6.