Ireland get past PNG despite Ura brilliance

Ireland 237 for 6 (Porterfield 111, Joyce 53) beat Papua New Guinea 235 (Ura 151, McBrine 3-38) by four wickets

Tony Ura made 151, PNG made 235; Ura made 64.25% of his team’s runs, the fourth-highest percentage of runs scored by one player in a completed innings in ODI cricket. That wasn’t enough, though. Despite a late wobble, Ireland got home with four wickets and five balls to spare. Their chase was built around a century from captain William Porterfield and a half-century from Ed Joyce.

The win means Ireland’s bid to qualify for World Cup 2019 is off to the start they would have wanted: they have won two of two games and sit at the top of their group at this early stage.

Ireland chose to bowl and carved up PNG from one end, reducing them to 116 for 7. At the other end, though, Ura, the opener, remained firm. He narrowly missed out on carrying his bat, out off the third ball of the 50th over, for 151. His runs came at quite a clip too, his 142-ball knock including 10 fours and all of six sixes.

Ireland, on the back of Porterfield and Joyce’s innings, were cruising at 184 for 2 in the 38th over. But strikes in successive overs from Mahuru Dai and Assad Vala gave PNG a glimmer. They hopes would have swelled again with another double-strike in the 44th and 45th overs, which also accounted for Porterfield.

That brought the equation from 24 needed off 42 with six wickets in hand to 20 needed off 30 with four in hand. But Gary Wilson and George Dockrell kept their heads and knocked off the runs steadily, in singles and twos. That is, till the final over, when Wilson knocked off the three needed with a first-ball boundary off Alei Nao. That consigned PNG to their second loss in as many games in the tournament.

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