The Hebou PNG Garamuts fought valiantly against the current holders of the Under 19 World Cup, West Indies, but eventually succumbed to a 7 wicket defeat in the first warm up match of the 2018 Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
With captain Vagi Karaho missing through illness, Vice-Captain and pacer James Tau led the team out and put the Garamuts in to bat after winning the toss in Christchurch.
The West Indians, known for their pace and disciplined bowling, lived up to the billing by removing opener Simon Atai early on, as he was caught behind by Carribean captain Emmanuel Stewart for just 9 runs while No. 3 batsman Heagi Toua also went the same way for just 2 runs.
Igo Mahuru and Ovia Sam then played a ver disciplined innings, with Mahuru particularly impressing in tough conditions and the Garamuts edged to the half century mark with 8 wickets still in hand. The West Indian captain decided to have a change in the bowling attack, which paid immediate dividends as Jeavor Royal picking up 2 wickets – Igo Mahuru (22 Runs of 64 balls) and Nou Rarua (Duck) in his very first over. Sam didn’t last too long either and fell victim to another new bowler Alick Athanaze in his second over of the match.
West Indies bowled with as many as 8 bowlers with Royal the pick of the players with impressive figures of 6 overs for only 4 runs and 2 wickets. The Papua New Guinean middle order did not put up much of a fight after that and it was a battling 15 runs of Eisa Eka and 12 from James Tau at the end that brought the total to a respectable 105.
After setting a modest target, the Hebou PNG Garamuts knew that early wickets were necessary to have any chance in the contest. Captain of the day James Tau got right into it, trapping opener Kimani Melius LBW in the very first over, for a duck. Keagan Simmons and Emmanuel Stewart consolidated in the middle with a 50 run partnership before Boge Arua got Stewart out stumped by his Papua New Guinean counterpart Simon Atai for 21(52). Simmons didn’t last much longer as he was run out by a smart throw by Nou Rarua for 23(43).
Out came Guyanese pinch hitter Bhaskar Yadram who wasted little time in making his intentions known, raced to 37* of just 23 balls and snuffed out any chance the Garamuts might have had to win the match.
While the result was disappointing, there can be no doubt that this was a much needed test against the best in the world before the tournament begins. West Indies play Zimbabwe next, who are Papua New Guinea’s first official opponents in Group B while the Hebou PNG Garamuts take on hosts New Zealand, in what will be a gruelling encounter.
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