Despite Tony Ura’s heroics, PNG’s batsmen need to improve against a Windies outfit impressive in all departments.
Papua New Guinea v Windies
Old Hararians Sports Club, Harare
CWCQ Match 10
Thursday 8 March; 09:30 local time, 07:30 GMT
Windies will be riding high on confidence after comprehensively beating United Arab Emirates in their opening match of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2018. However, on Thursday, 08 March, they take on a Papua New Guinea side that impressed in patches despite losing against Ireland, and are facing a must-win match to remain in the reckoning.
Chris Gayle delivered what he is best known for in the Windies’ 60-run win over UAE, hitting a fiery 123 runs in 91 balls, a knock that comprised seven fours and 11 sixes. With Shimron Hetmyer, the No.3 batsman and captain of the Under-19 World Cup winning side in 2016, smashing his maiden century in ODIs, and the likes of Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels, Jason Holder and Shai Hope – if he recovers from his niggle – making up the rest of the batting line-up, Windies will look to put up imposing totals.
Kemar Roach, Holder, and the spinners Ashley Nurse and Nikita Miller make for a quality bowling attack as well, making the Windies strong favourites against PNG, who already have lost two in two.
In their tournament-opener against UAE, the PNG batsmen showed no respite and collapsed to a meagre total of 113, which the opposition chased down with ease. Against Ireland, Tony Ura’s fighting 142-ball 151 helped them to 235 – the rest of the batsmen combined to contribute just 74.
With victory imperative in their remaining matches, PNG will need their batsmen to improve. Their bowlers, meanwhile, have done a good job so far – Norman Vanua took a four-wicket haul against UAE, while six Ireland wickets were chipped away on Tuesday.
Shimron Hetmyer (Windies): The No.3 batsman, who made his debut against New Zealand in December, displayed his impressive talent with a fiery 93-ball knock of 127 against UAE, comprising 14 fours and four sixes. His hard-hitting ability was a bonus for a strong Windies side, and if he carries on in similar vein throughout the tournament, Windies can be confident of sealing an ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 spot.
Tony Ura (Papua New Guinea): The opener’s brilliant 151 against Ireland – the highest ODI score by a PNG batsman – made him a vital cog in the side. With the rest of the batsmen struggling, Ura will once again have to lead the fight against one of the favourites of the tournament.
The pitch is expected to assist batsmen – Windies can vouch for that, having already played at the Harare Sports Club, and they will be familiar with the conditions. The temperature is expected to hover around 27 degrees, with a bit of cloud cover and very less chance of rain.
Windies: Jason Holder (capt), Jason Mohammed (vc), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope (wk), Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams.
Papua New Guinea: Assadollah Vala (capt), Charles Amini, Sese Bau, Mahuru Dai, Kiplin Doriga, Jason Kila, Vani Morea, Alei Nao, Damien Ravu, John Reva, Lega Siaka, Chad Soper, Tony Ura, Norman Vanua, Jack Vare (wk).