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Harry Tector scored a century in Ireland's warm-up match against England
U19 Cricket World Cup

Preview: Ireland U19s v Papua New Guinea U19s

ICC U19 CWC, match preview

Two emerging nations meet at Rangiora in the Plate semi-final play-off for 13th place.

We have reached the business end of the tournament with final positions soon to be confirmed. The Rangiora Recreation Ground will host this scrap between Ireland and Papua New Guinea, with the winners moving through to face either Namibia or Kenya on Saturday, while the losers of each fixture will compete for 15th place on Sunday.

Form guide

It’s been hard yakka for both teams so far but while PNG have yet to record a victory in their four fixtures, losing to Canada last time out after heavy defeats to Australia, India and Zimbabwe, Ireland at least have found some cause for cheer, with a last-gasp victory over Afghanistan in the final match of the group stages.

Video cwc19 23 Jan 18
Match Highlights: Windies U19s clinch win by 4 wickets over Ireland with 10 balls spare

From that Afghan victory, Ireland went on to face West Indies in the Plate quarter-final, but found themselves on the wrong end of a tight tussle, the Windies inching home by four wickets in the penultimate over, despite a superb 91 from Ireland's No.6, Neil Rock.

Video cwc19 21 Jan 18
Pre-game: Papua New Guinea U19s

Players to watch 

Harry Tector (Ire)

The skipper is Ireland’s standout batsman, a strong, broad-shouldered hitter whose off-breaks provide an extra dimension to Ireland’s attack. After picking up three wickets against Afghanistan, an excellent all-round performance against West Indies was not quite enough to get his team over the line, though his 69 from 78 balls and 1/37 from seven overs was further evidence of his class.

Tector looks to have a bright future for his country
Tector looks to have a bright future for his country

Simon Atai (PNG) 

Although PNG have struggled as a unit for runs, Simon Atai has been their outstanding player, the left-handed opener registering their only half-century of the tournament to date. His 81 was the bedrock of PNG’s reply to Canada’s 265/8, but no one was able to offer sufficient support around him for PNG to claim a first win. 

Simon Atai of Papua New Guinea batting
Simon Atai of Papua New Guinea batting

World Cup history

Ireland have appeared in seven ICC U19 CWC tournaments before this one. They have never made the knockouts, but with a highest finish of 10th in New Zealand in 2010, they have fond memories of these conditions.

This is PNG’s eighth appearance in the finals. They too have yet to make the quarter-finals, with a best finish of 12th in the 2008 and 2010 editions, while the 2012 tournament saw the first and so far only PNG centurion at this level, Christopher Kent making 105* against Afghanistan.

Head to head

They have met twice before at the ICC U19 CWC, with Ireland winning both games. The first match-up took place at Johannesburg in 1998 and saw Ireland coast home to win by six wickets; the next occurred in 2004, with Ireland running out winners by 70 runs. That day, a certain Eoin Morgan batted at No.3, making 11; he also bowled four overs!

Forecast

The weather in Rangiora is set reasonably fair, with temperatures in the mid-20s, partly cloudy with a small chance of a rain shower towards the end of the afternoon.

Squads

Ireland: Harry Tector (c), Ian Anders, Aaron Cawley, Varun Chopra, Mark Donegan, JJ Garth, Jamie Grassi, Reece Kelly, Graham Kennedy, Josh Little, Sam Murphy, Max Neville, Neil Rock, Morgan Topping, Andrew Vincent

PNG: Vagi Karaho (c), Sema Kamea, Eisa Eka, James Tau, Tau Toa Nou, Nou Rarua, Igo Mahuru, Simon Atai, Leke Morea, Kevau Tau, Heagi Toua, Daure Aiga, Ovia Sam, Sinaka Arua, Boge Arua

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