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Papua New Guinea and Kenya get underway

Kenya beat PNG in a low-scoring thriller

ICC U19 CWC, match report

A scrap for last place ends up with PNG claiming the wooden spoon as Kenya defend 176/

Kenya 176 (Mepani 44, Vasudev 31; Kamea 3/24, Tau 2/36) beat Papua New Guinea 162 (Rarua 47; Mwendwa 4/37, Mepani 3/22) by 14 runs.


This might only have been a playoff for 15th place, but for these two teams it felt like much more than that; it was a chance to make sure they don't leave empty-handed, and neither played as if thinking of the flight home.

It was Papua New Guinea who grabbed the advantage to start with; having been asked to field, they struck twice within the first four overs, and seven times in the first 26. It was opening bowlers James Tau and Semo Kamea who did most of the damage, and the two have been excellent so far this tournament, despite what the scorecards might suggest.

Aman Gandhi c Simon Atai b James Tau

It took a doughty partnership between Jayant Mepani and Sidhart Vasudev to give Kenya respectability, the pair adding 60 in a little under 20 overs. They hit just two boundaries between them, and Kenya managed just eight in the whole innings as they scrapped to 176.

PNG lost both openers within five overs in reply, the first of three double strikes to befall them. The second removed both of Ovia Sam and Vagi Karaho, who had added 54 and seemed to have given them the advantage.

From then Nou Rarua provided the bedrock, adding partnerships of 33 with Heagi Toua and 30 with Eisa Eka. But Kenya kept their heads, kept the pressure up, and let scoreboard pressure, though apparently meagre, take its toll.

It was perhaps a game low on quality - though Jayant Mepani, with his team's top score and an economical three-for had a day to savour - and these two teams have struggled to match how quick other sides can bowl and how far they can hit in this competition.

But it wasn't short on heart from either side. Both will have learnt a lot from this trip but on the evidence of this game, neither was willing to depart with just extra knowledge. They wanted a win, and it was Kenya who left with something to cherish.

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