Champions of the Pacific take on the Champions of the World at Lincoln Green, Christchurch, New Zealand.
If the best way to prepare for a test is to battle the toughest opponents, then it doesn’t get better for the Hebou PNG Garamuts than taking on the team that are the current World Champions at the Under 19 Cricket World Cup – West Indies – in their first warm up game at the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup, 2018.
In 2016, West Indies defied the odds by beating Stalwarts Pakistan, Hosts Bangladesh and Favourites India en route lifting the U19 World Cup through a series of fantastic team performances. With a very strong bowling attack, the West Indian team has a very talented mix of players that came together to win the Under 19 World Cup for the very first time in their history, in Dhaka. Keemo Paul, Shamar Springer, Obed McCoy and Kristan Kallicharan all retain their place for the champions after their heroics in 2016 while they are captained by the exciting Emmanuel Stewart, who was also in Bangladesh in 2016.
The Hebou PNG Garamuts have history with the West Indian Under 19 team, that makes for some unfortunate reading. West Indies has won each of the 5 matches the two teams have played against each other at the U19 World Cup.
The first time they played each other was back in 1998 in South Africa, the first time Papua New Guinea had qualified for U19 World Cup. They have faced off in New Zeland before in 2010, which was the Garamuts best showing against the Caribbeans in the tournament. Sese Bau scored a half century for PNG, before the Garamuts removed half the West Indian team backed by a 3/37 taken by Raymond Haoda.
The Hebou PNG Garamuts though will go into the match with a lot of confidence, given their stellar showing in Samoa. They dominated each match they played, with only Vanuatu being able to score more than a 100 runs in their allotted overs against PNG, who went undefeated in the qualifiers. Captain Vagi Karaho will be hoping his openers Simon Atai and highest scorer of the EAP U19 World Cup qualifiers Igo Mahuru can negotiate the first few overs of the West Indian pace attack and then accelerate from there while vice captain James Tau will be hoping he and 3rd highest wicket taker in Samoa, Ovia Sam can rattle the team with their brand of bowling.
Whatever the result, the teams are sure to entertain the crowds, while everyone back home will be wishing for one thing – a winning start for Hebou PNG Garamuts.