Vanua bowls PNG past Hong Kong in three-day game
Medium pacer Norman Vanua's 5 for 36 sealed a 133-run win for Papua New Guinea over Hong Kong in a three-day tour match in Townsville, Australia on Thursday. The win capped off a successful week for PNG after sweeping their way to a maiden ODI series win against Hong Kong at Tony Ireland Stadium on November 8 and 9.
Hong Kong was set a target of 379 to win off 87 overs early on day three, but Vanua ripped apart Hong Kong's middle order, including the key scalp of captain Jamie Atkinson, who top-scored with 63 in the second innings. Vanua then capped off the match with the final wicket of tailender Tanwir Afzal as Hong Kong were bowled out for 245 in 71.5 overs.
The foundation for PNG's win was established by an impressive first innings batting display after winning the toss as six out of Papua New Guinea's top seven registered half-centuries before declaring on 469 for 7. Assad Vala top-scored at first drop with 98 off 117 balls while former England international Geraint Jones was the only recognized batsman to miss out after being dismissed for just 4. Left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed did his best to rein in the PNG batting unit by taking 4 for 114.
Hong Kong made 205 in reply with teenage batsman Anshuman Rath making 72 but he received little support. PNG opted not to enforce the follow-on and went in search of quick runs as wickets fell rapidly in their second innings to set up the final declaration at 114 for 8 in just 23 overs. Vala once again top-scored for PNG with a fiery 40 not out in just 13 deliveries.
The performance bodes well for PNG ahead of their initial first-class cricket scheduled for 2015 when they enter the ICC Intercontinental Cup against the rest of the top-tier Associate nations.