The 15th One Day International for PNG in the ICC Cricket World Cup League 2 was the charm for the Kumul Petroleum PNG Barramundis, winning their first match in this league.
In the 14 matches since their debut on August 14, 2019, where the Barras played their first match against Oman in Aberdeen in Scotland, we have also lost fixtures against UAE, Nepal, USA, Scotland, and Namibia. On March 19, 2022, that all changed, in Dubai against the home team UAE, the Kumul Petroleum PNG Barramundis convincingly won for the very first time.
Player of the Match, Alei Nao, setup the win with a devasting 10 overs, taking 4 wickets for only 27 runs. Chad Soper continued his impressive form again being economical and taking key wickets with figures from his 8 overs of 3 wickets for only 15 runs.
The UAE top order was ripped through with the Barras on top of the game quickly, with the home side at one point being 77 for 9 wickets. A fine rear-guard action from Roshan Mustafa, scoring 88 runs of the UAE 147 total, ensured the home side had a target they would have still had belief they could defend.
Assad Vala, led the Barras from the front, ensuring victory with an unbeaten innings of 68 off 97 balls. Charles Amini provided strong support, with 36 runs, of their 71-run partnership, which steadied the ship after UAE struck with 2 early wickets. Assad Vala fittingly was not out as PNG won the match by 6 wickets, with 82 balls remaining.
The UAE, despite this home loss, remains second on the table behind Oman. PNG now has points on the table and can look forward confidently to taking on teams in the Cricket World Cup League 2, knowing the Barras have beaten a quality UAE team at their home.
For Cricket PNG, there has been a long and difficult journey to our first win. After making it to this league in 2019, the Barras started with 8 consecutive losses through to September 2019. Due to Covid, the Barras did not play again Internationally September 2021.
After Head Coach Joe Dawes departed late in 2020, new Head Coach Carl Sandri took control in 2021.
The matches in 2021 were the start of a rebuild programme, as PNG worked the rust out of their game, after two years of Covid enforced hibernation.
All the work Head Coach Carl Sandri, his coaching staff, and the Barras wider squad have been putting in behind the scenes, including spending over three weeks away from home hosted by the City of Gold Coast for an intensive training camp, before this tour of another three weeks, are starting to show dividends.
For the Kumul Petroleum PNG Barramundis, this is an historic first win, and by continuing to work hard, they are looking forward to taking on the other teams in the league and building from this success. Back the Barras!