PNG crush Namibia after Tony Ura, Assad Vala set platform with century stand

Papua New Guinea 197 for 7 (Ura 71, Vala 48, Frylinck 3-18, Viljoen 2-37) beat Namibia 116 (Vala 3-19) by 81 runs

PNG’s biggest partnership in T20Is, between Tony Ura and Assad Vala, left Namibia battered and bruised and without an escape route, as they slid to an 81-run defeat at ICC Academy Oval 2 on Sunday. Ura and Man of the Match Vala added 125 in just 12.2 overs as they punished poor lengths from Namibia, who cycled through eight options with the ball but found little success.

The pair got off to a relatively quiet start, reaching 23 in three overs after opening the innings, before they plundered a trio of fours first off Christi Viljoen’s medium pace in the fourth over and then in the sixth, bowled by captain Gerhard Erasmus. It wasn’t until the eighth before the first six came, and Ura followed up the first with a second, in three balls off Pikky Ya France’s offspin, and then cleared Bernard Scholtz straight for another in the ninth. A bottom-edged four past the keeper brought up his 50 in 30 balls in the tenth over, and then brought up the team 100 at the end of the over when he smoked a drive over extra cover off Craig Williams for his fourth six.

Viljoen struck twice in the space of three balls to finally send both players back to the pavilion – Vala hooking to deep square-leg two short of a fifty and Ura feathering an edge down the leg side for 71 – but the PNG opening combo had put Namibia well behind the eight ball. Sese Bau and Lega Siaka provided sharp bursts to keep the pressure on before Jan Frylinck’s triple-wicket 19th applied a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, though the damage was already complete.

Early pressure from Nosaina Pokana with the new ball produced a wicket for Bau’s new-ball offspin at the other end as Nico Davin gave a catch to mid-off in the fourth over. The desperation for quick runs resulted in the run out of JP Kotze two overs later as Bau struck again with an underhand flick at the striker’s end after charging in from backward point. Williams was bowled two balls later for a duck by Norman Vanua before Erasmus pulled Damien Ravu’s medium pace softly to Vala at short midwicket to complete a slide of three wickets for no runs in five balls.

Rather than try to mitigate their net run-rate hit with a victory becoming hopeless, Namibia continued to try to hit their way out of trouble only to spiral faster to defeat. Vala brought himself on and struck three times in four balls in the 12th: JJ Smit driving to long-on, Zane Green bowled playing back to a good length ball and Zhivago Groenewald missing a flick across the line to have his stumps rattled as well to make it 86 for 7.

A deflection on to the stumps by Riley Hekure to run out non-striker Bernard Scholtz for the final wicket summed up the day for both sides as Namibia failed to bat out their final 17 balls. It resulted in a crushing net run-rate blow to 0-2 Namibia and a massive boost on the tie-break formula for 2-0 PNG.

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