Vanuatu’s cricketers spin psychological web over PNG

PNG beat Tonga before losing to Vanuatu on Wednesday. Photo by Roan Paul.

PNG beat Tonga before losing to Vanuatu on Wednesday. Photo by Roan Paul.

PORT MORESBY, July 15 – Vanuatu again responded best in the big pressure situations to beat chief rival PNG by seven runs and remain undefeated in men’s T20 cricket at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games on Wednesday.

Having posted a target of 172 to win Tuesday’s clash between the two top-ranked sides by 28 runs, Vanuatu head coach Shane Deitz (AUS) talked of a “psychological points” victory.

That psychological edge was doubled on Wednesday.

Vanuatu’s tally of 9-115 batting first at Bisini Grounds did not look nearly enough, but with PNG cruising at 2-80 in reply in the 12th over, the hosts collapsed to lose 7-28 off 7.2 overs and only managed 9-108 in reply.

Vanuatu’s spinners again did the damage with Jelany Chilia 3-18, Simpson Obed 2-13 and Andrew Mansale 1-26 taking vital wickets and starving PNG of scoring opportunities mid-innings. Patrick Matautaava bowled quick and straight to take 2-22 off his four overs.

Matautaava got rid of Chris Amini caught and bowled for a duck in his first over and when Mansale had the dangerous Ryley Hekure caught for 41 off 32 balls, Vanuatu sensed its chance.

Obed and Chilia then went to work and the pressure in the field proved too much for the PNG middle order.

Jonathon Dunn (41 off 37) and skipper Mansale’s 32 had earlier held the Vanuatu innings together.

The PNG attack bowled tight lines and with good control: Kabua Vagi Morea taking 2-18, Raymond Haoda 1-22, Nosaina Pokana 2-26 and Hiri Hiri 2-20 in full four over spells, but in the end it was batting that let PNG down.

In Vanuatu’s morning match, Nalin Nipiko blasted 105 off 42 balls and Ronald Tari made 69 off 35 as it tallied 7-285 and then restricted New Caledonia to 9-59 off 14.2 for a 135-run victory.

Emmanuel Katrawi (15 not out) was the only batsman to reach double figures for New Caledonia and Noel Sinyeue was unable to bat. Vanuatu bowlers shared the wickets around with two each to Niko Unavalu, Shem Sala, Chilia and Obed.

PNG’s morning match on Wednesday resulted in a 114-run win against Tonga. Jason Kila smashed 74 off 42 balls while Hekure continued his fine form with 47 off 31 as PNG batted first to score 9-190 off 20 overs. Sione Manumoa took 3-26 with the ball for Tonga.

In reply Tonga was bowled out for 76 but at least batted out its full 20 overs. Aloisio Pau’u (22) and Maamaloa Kuluka (21) were best with the bat while Kila took 3-7 and Alei Nao, Pokana and Vagi Morea bagged two wickets each for PNG.

In Tonga’s second match of the day, Nikolasi Moala hit five sixes in a rapid-fire knock of 86 from 62 balls as he and Pau’u (60 off 40) made an opening stand of 146 against New Caledonia.

Tonga’s total of 3-222 was too much for a valiant New Caledonia who were eventually all out in the 20th over for 162.

Johnaton Lapacas top scored for New Caledonia with 57 off just 22 balls batting at No. 8, while Aisake Haukinima 3-9 off 3.3 overs, Paula Palu 3-35 and Leo Tenisi 2-29 did well for Tonga.

Cricket has a day off on Thursday with games continuing on Friday from 10:00 at Bisini Grounds. Medal matches are scheduled for 14:05 on Saturday.

GNS pg/kd

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