Papua New Guinea keep afloat final hopesPNG edge Malaysia by eight wickets to pull off their first win. They will advance into the final if Nepal beat Malaysia today.
Papua New Guinea (PNG) kept afloat their hopes of reaching the Tri-Nation Twenty20 International Series final after a record partnership between captain Assad Vala and Tony Ura gave them an eight-wicket victory over Malaysia at the TU cricket ground in Kirtipur on Friday.
Vala and Ura shared an unbeaten 137-run partnership for the third wicket as PNG made 199-2 in 17.5 overs in their 197-run chase. Ura played a quickfire knock of 34-ball 86 and Vala smashed 51-ball 74. It was the highest ever partnership by PNG players in T20Is.
Their first victory after their fourth and final group match keeps PNG in contention for the final. PNG and Malaysia both have two points each but PNG occupy second position by virtue of better run rate.
Should Malaysia lose to hosts Nepal, who are already assured of final following victories in all three group matches, on Saturday, PNG will qualify for the final. The teams finishing on top two positions at the end of the group stage will advance into the final.
Put into bat first, Malaysia posted a challenging total of 196-6. Captain Ahmad Faiz and Syed Aziz both cracked half-centuries and also shared a 115-run stand for the third wicket, the highest T20I partnership for Malaysia. The duo surpassed Malaysia's previous record of 95 runs against the same opponents on Tuesday.
Captain Faiz hit 63 off 43 with five fences and three sixes and Aziz cracked 35-ball 64 that included eight fences and three fours. Faiz was caught by Ura off Chad Soper in the penultimate over. Aziz, dismissed in the following over, was caught by Semo Kamea off Kabua Morea.
Opener Zubaidi Zulkifle was the other major contributor smashing 46 from 22 deliveries. He struck four fences and boundaries each. His opening partner Virandeep Singh was dismissed for 10 runs.
Medium pacer Morea was the pick of the PNG bowling claiming four wickets. He conceded 29 runs in a three-over spell.
In their run chase, PNG lost their opener Lega Siaka for a golden duck. But Vala, who smashed his career best 74 runs, shared a 62-run stand for the second wicket with Charles Amini before the latter was dismissed. Amini contributed 22-ball 28.
Vala and Ura then remained unbeaten before achieving the target. Vala cracked eight boundaries and a six. Ura smashed 10 sixes and two fences in his 34-ball blitz. The-man-of-the-match Ura collected 15 runs that included two fences and a six in the 17th over. He hit three sixes and a boundary to Muniandy in the 18th over as PNG surpassed the target with 13 balls to spare.
Malaysian bowler Muhammad Wafiq and Syazrul Idrus picked one wicket each.