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Peter Della Penna in Dubai
Papua New Guinea 90 for 0 (Vala 53*, Ura 33*) beat Bermuda 89 (Rawlins 25, Vanua 3-14) by 10 wickets
When Bermuda last played Papua New Guinea at ICC Academy Oval 1 in 2012, Janeiro Tucker produced a hat-trick of sixes in the final over off PNG captain Rarua Dikana to deliver a stunning five-wicket win. At the same venue on Saturday morning, it was PNG who stunned Bermuda with a hat-trick of their own as Norman Vanua‘s third-over blitz set up a 10-wicket mauling.
Bermuda were already struggling at 11 for 2 in two overs after the left-arm new-ball pace-spin duo of Nosaina Pokana and Jason Kila removed Okera Bascome and the 44-year-old Tucker, back for one last hurrah after first retiring in May 2018. Vanua was brought on in the third over in place of Pokana as captain Assad Vala rotated his bowlers rapidly all innings to keep Bermuda off balance, and it worked to maximum effect in this particular sequence.
Vanua struck the first blow in his hat-trick maiden off the fourth ball, bowling captain Dion Stovell who was late driving a full length ball. Kamau Leverock then fished at a good length ball outside off to edge behind for the second before Deunte Darrell was pinned on the toe with a yorker, making it 11 for 5. Sussex star Delray Rawlins could only watch helplessly from the non-striker’s end.
Rawlins did his best to counter-attack, driving and pulling his way to a series of boundaries off Vanua in the fifth over to hit him back out of the attack. But his stay was ended by Vala, who pierced through to bowl him for 25 and at 43 for 6 in the eighth over, Bermuda faced an uphill battle to last the full 20 overs. Charles Amini, Damien Ravu and Pokana methodically worked their way through the rest of the order to wrap up the innings in just 17.2 overs.
PNG attacked in the Powerplay, in pursuit of an early net-run-rate boost. Vala and Tony Ura swept and drove their way to 47 for 0 after the first six. Vala eventually brought up a 32-ball half-century in the 10th with a four flicked over wide long-on, his seventh to go with one six, before he ended the match pinching a two to long-on with 58 balls to spare.
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