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Papua New Guinea has initiated the new turf wicket at Amini Park, Port Moresby with a comfortable 4-0 series win over a young Cricket Australia Indigenous XI last weekend.
The home team, coached by former Australian player, Andy Bichel, were too experienced for the Indigenous XI, most of whom were under 21, in the series which alternated between Twenty20 and 50-over formats.
The series, the first to be played in PNG on a turf wicket, saw the return of allrounders, Rarua Dikana and Mahuru Dai to the Barramundis team for the first time in a couple of seasons. Both made telling contributions, particularly with the ball. Raymond Haoda Junior, a Queensland Bulls Elite Pace Bowling Programme participant, took four wickets for PNG in the first of the 50-over games.
Indigenous XI all-rounder, Josh Lalor, then provided perhaps the individual performance of the series. Batting at number eight, he hit 92 as his team scored 100 runs off the last 15 overs. Lalor then took 3 for 40 as Dai (67) and Chris Amini (50) lifted their side to a five-wicket win.
The Cricket Australia Indigenous XI improved as the series progressed, and pushed PNG in the third game of the series, falling just three runs short.
Game 1 - Twenty/20
Papua New Guinea 110 for 3 (Vala 20, Amini 42*, Pala 18*) beat Cricket Australia Indigenous XI 109 for 9 (Bailey 22, Ugle 23; Dikana 2 for 15, Dai 2 for 26) by seven wickets
Game 2 - 50 overs
Papua New Guinea 211 for 5 (Vala 48, Amini 50, Dai 67, Lalor 3-40) beat Cricket Australia Indigenous XI 210 for 9 (Lalor 92, Swain 26, McGregor-Cassady 24*, Haoda Jnr 4-45, Dikana 2-30, Areni 2-55) by five wickets
Game 3 - Twenty20
Papua New Guinea 128 for 8 (Vala 19, Dai 34, Pala 22, Kent 20, Lalor 3-21, Swain 2-13) beat Cricket Australia Indigenous XI 125 (White 71, Short 18) by three runs
Game 4 - 50 overs
Papua New Guinea 266 (Vala 45, Amini 33, Dai 74, Pala 48; White 4-50, Ugle 3-28) beat Cricket Australia Indigenous XI 118 (Bailey 31, White 29, Fleehan 22; Dai 5 for 33, Areni 2 for 42) by 149 runs