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Papua New Guineans’ cricketers struggle in T20 World Cup debut

PNG Cricket
Caption: Papua New Guinea walk on the field to defend their 129 runs against Oman. Source: ICC.

Papua New Guinea’s rare international spotlight was more akin to the uncomfortable glare of an interrogation on one of cricket’s biggest stage.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup debut could not have gone any worse for the Pacific minnows against no less respective rookies Oman.

The co-hosts of the preliminary rounds with neighbours UAE to decide which teams will join eight test nations for the Super 12 stage in India handed out a comprehensive thrashing by 10 wickets on Monday morning.

The aptly-named Barramundis looked more like a fish out of water in the desert nation while Oman looked as right at home as its ruling royal house watching in the stands.

The performance went against the form line playing another ICC association nation after winning six consecutive matches to guarantee a spot for the tournament before losing that qualifier’s final to the Netherlands.

PNG were restricted to 9-129 off its 20 overs despite captain Assad Vala (56 from 43 balls) and Charles Amini (37 from 26) putting on an 81-run partnership after the team fell to 2-0 in the first nine balls.

Left-arm spinner Zeeshan Maqsood grabbed 4-20 at the back end of the innings to ensure the next six wickets fell within 16 runs.

Oman openers Aqib Ilyas (50 from 43 balls) and Jatinder Singh (73 from 42) cruised to the target with 38 balls to spare.

PNG will have to upset a revived Scotland, fresh from upsetting Bangladesh, on Tuesday night to advance out of the group stage.

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