If there is ever a sporting match so important to a nation, then tomorrows T20 match-up between Papua New Guinea and Afghanistan has to be one of them for Papua New Guinea. No disrespect to other athletes and sporting codes in the country, but as far as we’re concerned the Barramundis rank up much higher than any other sporting success to date.
This isn’t a Pacific tournament and neither is it a Commonwealth tournament. We’re talking about a match that could possibly place Papua New Guinea in a World Cup tournament, watched by millions of people around the world. The opportunities from there are much greater.
Okay, maybe you could count the rugby league World Cup but the road to having a chance of participating in the World Cup, the number of countries vying for a place and the competitiveness of it all makes tomorrow’s match stand out.
In fact, reaching this stage is a success in itself and the Barras should be congratulated for this magnificent achievement. But as expected, the Barras being the competitive and determined athletes they are, it’s not over yet.
The World Cup will be played in India next year that will include all test playing nations – the best of the best. To make it to the World Cup will be a huge achievement and certainly will open more opportunities for the code and the country.
So what are our chances going into this game?
For a start, Afghanistan is ranked higher in the ICC rankings so PNG will undoubtedly be the underdogs going into this match.
But bear in mind that this is a 20Twenty tournament where anything can happen. The favourites can be dismantled just like a couple of weeks ago when PNG strike bowler Norman Vanua surprisingly turned the game around against the more fancied Ireland team. Even more surprising was the fact that Vanua did the damage with bat rather than ball.
The Barras obviously have been disappointing in their last two games against Namibia and USA. A repeat of that performance and we can pack our bags and head home still with our heads up though.
PNG openers Tony Ura and Lega Siaka will have to attack from the word go – they’ll need to if PNG is to have a chance in this game. Both players have had rather disappointing performances but come tomorrow, what happened yesterday will mean little or nothing.
On their day, Ura and Siaka can be a bowlers nightmare. They are both devastating in attack and have that ability to reap through a bowling attack with ease. If the duo can shine more than enough to match their gold jumpers, the rest can take us home.
On the bowling department, our second, third and fourth change bowlers have been reliable and have had a significant impact in cutting down the runs. Mahuru Dai, Chad Soper and Charles Amini junior proved economical and there’s a good chance that a repeat of their last performance could restrict Afghanistan from setting a very high target.
PNG has a good a chance as any of the other top teams in this tournament. We’ve got confidence the boys can make it. And if the victory song is belted out straight after hitting the winning runs, it’ll be time for us to prepare for India.
We’re so excited at the prospect of watching our country men match up against the best in the world, we’re already making plans for India. You know somewhere around March or April 2016 sounds ideal.
Don’t spoil our plans Barras. Please.