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U19CWC Report Card: Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea struggled at the Under 19 World Cup, finishing in 16th place after losing all six of their matches in New Zealand.
Papua New Guinea's side at the U19 World Cup
Results summary:
 
Group stage
Lost to Zimbabwe by 10 wickets
Lost to India by 10 wickets
Lost to Australia by 311 runs
 
Plate quarter-final
Lost to Canada by 80 runs
 
13th place play-off semi-final
Lost to Ireland by 3 wickets
 
15th place play-off 
Lost to Kenya by 14 runs
 
Positives to take home?
 
This was Papua New Guinea's (PNG) eighth Under 19 World Cup and they earned the right to compete through an unbeaten qualifying campaign. Although their time in New Zealand did not go to plan, with no victories to celebrate and 16th place to follow finishes of 12th in the 2008 and 2010 editions, there were some positives.  
 
In general PNG's batting failed to fire across the tournament, but a few players did hold their hands up. Ovia Sam top-scored and stood firm with 24 not out in the defeat by Zimbabwe and made 30 against Kenya; opener Simon Atai struck an assured 81 from 117 balls against Canada; while Igo Mahuru (45) and Heagi Toua (39) put on a partnership of 78 together versus Ireland. 
 
Video
A double strike by James Tau
 
Meanwhile, James Tau stood out with the ball. Despite a 311-run thumping by eventual finalists Australia, the left-arm opening bowler took a very respectable 2/42 from his 10 overs. Tau blossomed as the tournament wore on, claiming 2/37 against Canada, 4/45 versus Ireland and 2/36 in the final match against Kenya. He finished the competition with 10 wickets at a decent economy rate. 
  
Areas for improvement?
 
Ultimately it was PNG's batting against the competition's stronger sides that undermined their efforts. Batting first they were bowled out for 98 against Zimbabwe, 64 against India and 59 versus Australia in the group stage. They lost all 10 of their wickets in every game, failing to bat their full 50 overs on each occasion, with the 185 achieved against Canada the highest total managed. 
 
Wickets came thick and fast and tended to be lost in clumps in the middle overs. If they are to improve in the future, the ability to take stock and shut up shop to halt the slide of dismissals will prove important.
 
Video
Kenya beat Papua New Guinea to secure 15th place at U19CWC 2018
Rising star?
 
Despite their difficult tournament, James Tau can be happy with his individual performances. The left-arm seamer found swing and showed he can trouble other sides' best players. 
 
His opening bowling partner Sema Kamea also took eight wickets, finishing the tournament well with figures of 2/22 against Ireland and 3/24 versus Kenya.  
 
Video
Emanuel Khokhar bowled by James Tau
Overall grade
 
E

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