After being sent in to bat by Ireland’s captain, William Porterfield, the Hebou PNG Barramundis got off to another disastrous start, slumping to 3/24 in the 12th over.
When Charles Amini Jnr was stumped for eight runs off the bowling of Paul Stirling, the Hebou PNG Barramundis were in a massive hole at 6/80 and in danger of being bowled out for less than 100.
During this carnage, Ura stuck to his plans to hit the very strong Ireland bowling attack to all parts of the beautiful Hare Sports Club Ground to hit his maiden ODI century.
The Barramundis’ lower-order fought very hard to frustrate the Ireland attack with Jack Vare-Kevere (13) putting on 36 runs for the seventh wicket with Ura before he was run-out, Chad Soper (25) putting on 83 runs for the eighth wicket with Ura before he became Boyd Rankin’s second victim and Norman Vanua (12) put on 28 runs for the tenth wicket before Ura was dismissed for a magnificent 151 runs in the final over.
These lower-order partnerships helped the Hebou PNG Barramundis post a very respectable 235 runs with Ura being the star and playing a lone hand.
Ura’s innings of 151 came off 142 balls, becoming only the second PNG player to score an ODI century and falling three balls short of becoming the first PNG batsman to carry their bat in an ODI match.
Andy McBrine (3/38) was the pick of the Ireland bowlers taking three wickets, while Boyd Rankin (2/41) and Kevin O’Brien (2/53) picked up a couple of wickets.
In pursuit of the 236 target, Porterfield and Paul Stirling (27) got off to flyer, racing to fifty runs in less than eight overs before Assad Vala’s handy off-spinners dismissed Stirling.
When Andy Balbirine was cleaned bowled by Chad Soper for seven, Ireland were in a vulnerable position at 2/76. Then former England Test Player, Ed Joyce (53), joined his captain to take the game away from the Hebou PNG Barramundis by adding a 108-run third wicket partnership before Mahuru Dai dismissed Joyce for a well compiled half-century.
Niall O’Brien was trapped Leg Before Wicket (LBW) shortly after to leave Ireland at 4/188 in the 39th over before Porterfield posted his 11th ODI century.
His patient innings of 111 came off 133 balls, which included twelve boundaries before eventually being dismissed by Alei Nao in the 44th over.
Vanua came back into the attack to bowl out Kevin O’Brien (12) to put a bit of nerves in Ireland’s chase at 6/216 in the 45th over.
The Hebou PNG Barramundis fought hard to take the match into the final over, before Gary Wilson (12*) and George Dockrell (8*) guided Ireland to victory by four wickets with five balls remaining.
Vala (2/39) was the pick of the Barramundis’ bowlers taking two wickets while Nao, Soper, Vanua and Dai picked up a wicket each.
The Hebou PNG Barramundis have a day off today before taking on the two-time World Cup winners, West Indies, at the Old Hararians Ground tomorrow (March 8).
In other Day 2 results, West Indies defeated United Arab Emirates by 60 runs, Scotland defeated Hong Kong by 4 wickets and in the match of the day Zimbabwe defeated Afghanistan by 2 runs.
(Tony Ura of Papua New Guinea scored 151 off 142 balls in a losing cause. His performance won him the player of the match award – Picture: ICC)