Week one saw a number of great performances in the Men’s T20 Smash, and week two promised to see more of the exciting performances, concluding in the competition’s final.
T20 Smash Day 5
In the opening match of a double header for the side, the TrakPro MudMen were first in action with the bat against the Toyota Cassowaries. Nosaina Pokana (1-37) in fine wicket-taking form and again took an early wicket, however the MudMen were able to get to work in setting a competitive total through a 36-run partnership between Gaudi Toka and Lega Siaka.
Siaka and Toka batted together for the next five overs before Siaka departed for 16. Jason Kila joined Toka and again the MudMen saw other partnership being built. Toka continued to bat well, bringing up his half-century before departing for an important 55. Kila and Toka’s partnership took the score to 93 with 6 overs to go, meaning that the team were in reach of 140. Norman Vanua (29) and Dogodo Bau (23) batted well towards the back end of the innings and ensured that the MudMen kept the momentum that the team developed over the course of the innings. The MudMen finished on 148-7.
The MudMen started emphatically with the ball as both Kabua Vagi Morea (2-18) and Norman Vanua (2-7) took early wickets to see them take the upper hand as the scoreboard read 12-3 after three overs. Nigani Heni (24*) provided some resilience for the Cassowaries and tried to ensure that the chase continued towards the target; however, regular wickets broke any potential partnerships. The wickets were shared around with Morea along with Daurie Lohia (2-18), Jason Kila (1-13) and Hiri Hiri (1-7) who all impressed. The MudMen bowled their opposition out for 89 after 13 overs meaning a 59 run win for the team.
The second game saw the ODG Electrical Mariners batting first against the MudMen and were in early trouble after Morea took two early wickets to leave the Mariners reeling at 36-2.
The MudMen’s bowling performance was similar to that of the first game as the bowlers were able to make consistent breakthroughs during the middle overs. Each of the seven bowlers took a wicket with standout contributions from Lohia (3-9) and Morea (2-6). The bowlers faced some resistance as Kevin Griffin scored an impressive 24* which saw the Mariners reach the 100 mark before being bowled out. The MudMen needed to approach the chase in the correct manner as there is plenty of evidence of teams struggling to chase smaller targets.
Despite an early wicket from Assad Vala (2-10), last weeks centurion Hiri Hiri and Lega Siaka combine for a 30 run partnership, meaning that when Hiri Hiri departed the team required a further 51 from the 12 overs remaining. The Mariners ensured that MudMen were made to work for their runs with the bowling team taking quick wickets which created excitement. However, Siaka scored 43 and Vanua finished on 14* to ensure that the MudMen were able to complete their second victory of the day by 6 wickets.
Speaking after the day’s action, Cricket PNG CEO Greg Campbell was impressed with the way that the MudMen competed over the course of the day.
‘The MudMen were unstoppable today. They are the first side to get two wins from two games. It’s a day off tomorrow, but we come back to Amini Park on Wednesday for one more round before finals day on Friday’.
Joe Dawes was also seemingly impressed with what he had seen during day 5 of competition.
‘The Mariners and Cassowaries were outplayed today. They played two quite complete games of cricket – their batting fired scoring big runs that were well defended in the morning, and a superb bowling display that was backed up by a comfortable run chase in the afternoon’.
Day 6 saw the group stage of the Curtain Brothers CPNG Men’s T20 Smash come to an end before the qualifying final and the final. The first game of the day saw the TrakPro MudMen coming up against the Hastings Deering Black Bass with the second game seeing the Toyota Cassowaries compete with the ODG Electrical Mariners.
During the first game of the day, the MudMen would once again be in action with the bat. The Black Bass started the match on the front foot as the bowling unit quickly claimed two wickets. Gari Dairi (1-12) and Charles Amini Jnr (2-25) stared early with the ball, but Toka (38) and Kila (18) once again batted well and combined for a 46-run partnership. The scoreboard read 74-3 after 11 overs meaning that the MudMed had 9 overs to push towards three figures and beyond.
Vanua scored a tremendous 30, once again showing his quality with the bat, to take the score to 114 meaning that the lower order had the opportunity to show their talent for the last four overs. The Mudmen’s lower order excelled, including the impressive Bau who scored 14, meaning that the team finished on 140-9 from their allotted 20 overs. The Black Bass’ response started with a 51-run opening partnership which saw both Kipling Doriga (18) and Steven Eno (29) get the team off to a good start. However, two quick wickets meant that the runs slowed for a period.
The scoreboard read 52-2 after eight overs, but Lega Tau and Amini combined for a 36 run stand which ensured that the Black Bass remained in the game and ensuring that the required run rate did not get out of control. 53 runs were required from the last seven overs and more wickets threatened to undo the good work of the Black Bass line up. Vanua’s impressive competition continued as he recorded figures of 3-20, though Amini stayed at the crease and helped his team to chase down the target with three wickets and an over spare.
During the second game of the day, the ODG Electrical Mariners batted first against the Toyota Cassowaries. Despite an opening partnership of 22, the scoreboard read 25-2 as Sese Bau (1-24) and Riley Hekure (1-14) took wickets. The Cassowaries bowling attack has been impressive for the majority of the season and the team’s discipline helped them take regular wickets during the middle overs. Michael Charles (2-27), Eddie Alewa (1-15), Raho Sam (1-4) and Nosaina Pokana (4-11) all impressed as the Mariners were bowled out for 100. Tony Ura impressed during week one with the bat and his 54 helped his team to chase down the target. A 88-run partnership between Ura and Raho Sam made important contributions which ensured that the Mariners performed to the best of their ability chasing down the score in 10 overs. The eight-wicket victory secured the Mariners spot in the Grand final, with the other spot to be decided through a qualifying final; which will comprise of the TrakPro Mudmen and Hastings Deering Black Bass.
Joe Dawes was once again was pleased with what he saw during the day’s play and must be thrilled with the level of performance on show during the competition bearing in mind that he will be looking ahead to the T20 World Cup.
“It was a well-executed run chase this morning, Kipling [Doriga] and Steven [Eno] really set the platform, then Charles [Amini Jnr] with 44 not out finished it off despite some late wickets. The Cassowaries were dominant with both bat and ball. Nosaina [Pokana] took four wickets and Tony’s [Ura] 44 wrapped up a clinical team performance. The Cassowaries hold a slight advantage, but anyone can win on Friday afternoon”.
With a trophy up for grabs there is always added pressure and it will be the team who deal with the added pressure best who lift the silverware come the end of the day. But before any thoughts turned to the finals, fans first needed to find out who would be meeting the Toyota Cassowaries in the final.
The qualifying final saw the MudMen against the Black Bass, and at the 10 over mark during the games first innings, which saw the MudMen batted first, both teams would have been happy with the positions they were in. The MudMen, through Vagi Karoho (10) and Siaka (30), were scoring at over seven runs per over and had set the team up for a very competitive first innings total. But the Black Bass had taken four wickets within the first ten overs, which would give them hope of restricting the scoring rate through exposing the middle and lower order. Hiri Hiri arguably helped his team gain the all important momentum with the MudMen batsman scoring a enterprising 45, scoring the majority of the runs during a 48-run partnership with Dogodo Bau. The partnership took the team to 120 before Savaki Gebai (2-31) and Amini (3-38) got the two important breakthroughs; however, the Black Bass were unable to stem the flow of runs with the lower order scoring a further 28 runs before being bowled out. The Mudmen finished on 148 and would be happy with their efforts having runs on the board during a knock-out match.
The Mudmen the performed magically with the ball, with Kila making another crucial contribution for the side. Kila finished with fantastic figures of 4-11, claiming the wickets of Doriga, Amini Jr, Tau and Eno for 2,9, 21 and 9 respectively, meaning that the MudMen bowling attack had combined to see the Black Bass sitting on 42-4 during the 9th over. Gebai (23) and Toua Gamu (18) helped to step the flow of wickets and the Black Bass went past 100. However, the MudMen were able to continue their fine performance to see the team win by 46 runs.
After the MudmMen’s electric performance, attention turned to the Grand Final. Despite the fantastic performance, there was a question as to whether the MudMen would have the energy levels required to compete in a final straight after a game. The Cassowaries won the toss and elected to bat, which arguably put further strain on the MudMen’s fitness, however, there was no sign of a slump as the MudMen got off to a fantastic start with the ball as Vagi got the wicket of PNG national team icon Tony Ura for 1 during the first over.
A number of starts ensured that the Cassowaries had a consistent flow of runs. Raho Sam (20), Nigani Heni (17) and Sese Bau (11) all made positive starts with the bat, however, though were unable to go on. At the half way mark of the first innings, the scoreboard read 53-4, however when Hekure departed the responsibility of scoring runs fell to the teams lower order. Doura Gavera scored a magnificent 43* as he batted with resilience and determination during an innings which went against the grain. The Cassowaries finished on 114 from their 20 overs.
The score may have looked below par during a competition that has regularly seen scored of over 120, but the Cassowaries strength had been their bowling throughout the campaign. As has been a pattern across the tournament, Nosaina Pokana and Sese Bau once again took early wickets which meant that the scoreboard read 15-2 after three overs.
The wickets continued to fall as the Cassowaries ensured that their momentum continued, removing Lega Siaka (11), Hiri Hiri (1). Alewa (2-13) and Bau (3-15) bowled with enough pressure, and combined with a solid fielding effort, a flurry of wickets fell to see the MudMen reduced to 74-9.
The game came down to a thrilling conclusion as Dogodo Bau and Lohia (17*) combined for a 37-run partnership, giving fans a fitting CPNG Men’s T20 Smash final. It was fitting that one of the competitions best bowlers finished proceedings for the Cassowaries, as Nosaina Pokana claimed the final wicket as Bau was dismissed for 17. The Toyota Cassowaries won the thrilling match by 3 runs as they were crowned champions.
“What a day of cricket. We were expecting a close contest and the teams delivered plenty of twists and turns. The MudMen bowled well to dismiss the Cassowaries for under 115 but the Cassowaries, led by Sese [Bau] and Man of the Match Nosaina Pokana, stayed in the game. Just when we thought it was over, Dogodo [Bau] and Lohia took the MudMen to within 4 runs of victory. Well done to the Cassowaries – they have been fantastic all tournament and are deserving 2020 champions,” National Head Coach Joe Dawes said at the match’s conclusion.
The conclusion of the CPNG Men’s T20 Smash sees the PNG’s domestic season come to an end. The season has been filled with plenty of twists and turns, with three champions being crowned. PNG black won the Men’s Isuzu National Cup, with the Hino Cassowaries winning the Curtain Brothers CPNG Women’s T20 Smash before the Toyota Cassowaries’ triumph this week.
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