The PNG Barramundis have been on the cusp of World Cup Qualification before and have developed the unwanted tag of chokers having fallen at the last hurdle previously. They enter the World Cricket League matches against Scotland commencing on Sunday in the knowledge that one win will secure their spot in the 50 Over World Cup qualifiers against test countries West Indies, Zimbabwe, Ireland and Afghanistan.
The recently completed Intercontinental Cup match ended in a draw with more than 1000 runs scored across the 4 days. Both batting orders have relished the opportunity to bat on a flat wicket and will go into the shorter format in good form and with momentum. Alongside a host of good scores, Scotland’s Richard Berrington registered a patient century whilst PNGs Leka Siaka, Assad Vala and Tony Ura both made half centuries in the PNG second innings.
However, much will hinge on the bowlers ability to stem the flow of runs with a par score of 280 likely at Amini Park. Both fast bowling attacks, aside from Safyaan Shariff for Scotland, struggled to penetrate on a pitch that yielded no movement and respective Captains Kyle Coetzer and Assad Vala may well look to their slower bowlers to provide the edge.
The PNG Barramundis will wait until the morning of the match to name their eleven de but have options available in their 14 man squad to take advantage of the conditions. It is expected that the in for Alei Nao who was nursing a slight strain will come back into contention along with young batsman Dogoda Bau and veteran all rounder JB Reva who both sat out the 4 day match.
Both teams appear evenly matched and the series may well hinge on who can execute their plans and take their opportunities. The Barramundi have chased well over the last 12 months and may well back themselves in on what will be a close battle to secure World Cup Qualifying spots.