PNG, Uganda eye historic first victory in T20 World Cups - Cricket News | Cricket Updates | Match Report

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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

PNG, Uganda eye historic first victory in T20 World Cups

 Can Uganda step up after their 125-run loss to Afghanistan?

Can Uganda step up after their 125-run loss to Afghanistan? © AFP

Both underdogs and coming off opening defeats, PNG showed a hearteningly hard-fought effort against the hosts, while Uganda received a harsh lesson from Afghanistan. However, one of these teams will claim their historic first World Cup win tonight at Guyana's National Stadium, weather permitting.

This will be only the second T20I between the two sides, who met for the first time in the 20-over format at the 2022 Qualifier in Zimbabwe, with PNG comfortable winners on that occasion. The only other short-format fixture between the two was a warm-up back in 2013 at the Global T20 Qualifier (with former England keeper Geraint Jones behind the stumps for the Barramundis), but they've seen plenty of one another in 50-over cricket up and down the Divisions of the old World Cricket League.

The Papuans have had the upper hand over Uganda in 50-over internationals too, having won four of their five official matches, though they've often been very close run. PNG prevailed in a one-run thriller at the 2005 ICC Trophy at Dublin where the teams first met in ICC competition, while Uganda got over the line with one wicket to spare in their next meeting at the 2007 Division 3 at Darwin.

The Papuans were victors by one run again at the 2010 WCL Division 2 at Dubai, but it was a much more emphatic 9-wicket win at the 2014 World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand that set the Barramundis on course for ODI status and a two-cycle run in the top-flight of Associates competition, first the WCL Championship and then CWC League 2, while Uganda dropped back into the lower divisions.

The two sides look to be converging once again though, PNG's recent relegation meaning they'll be competing at the same level of 50-over competition as Uganda next cycle (albeit on opposite sides of the Challenge League draw). In the shorter format, Uganda on the rise through the African regional ranks has been impressive, now consistently outperforming old rivals Kenya and behind only Namibia among the region's leading Associates.

Uganda also had to see off a full member in Zimbabwe to get here, winning by 5 wickets in what was their first official match against a Full Member. That's a feat Papua New Guinea have yet to achieve, though it's no doubt on their to-do list this tournament. But the immediate priority for both teams will be a first win in front of the world, and both will know this is likely their best shot at claiming it.

When: PNG vs Uganda, June 5, 11:30 PM GMT, 7:30 PM LOCAL, 5:00 AM IST (JUNE 6)

Where: Providence Stadium, Guyana

What to expect:Be prepared for rain, and a potentially shortened match. If they do get on the field Afghanistan showed in their first group match that it was possible to set a big score at Providence Stadium attacking early, though even they were dragged back once Uganda's bowlers found their rhythm. It remains one of the tougher grounds to score on, spin friendly and somewhat sluggish. The dew and the damp can hamper both the fielders and bowlers though, drops and slip-out full tosses or no balls not uncommon. Cashing in on bad balls will likely be key.

Head to Head in T20Is: 1-0

Team Watch:PNG

The perennially unfortunate Jack Gardner remains sidelined with a broken finger sustained during training at Trinidad a little over a week ago, but there's no word of other injuries or concerns from the PNG camp, and there's every chance they'll take the field with an unchanged eleven after a decent showing against the Windies.

Tactics & Matchups:After seeing Uganda wilt in the face of left-arm seam against Afghanistan it's likely Kabua Morea will open the bowling despite being expensive in the first match, while Alei Nao looked outstanding with the new ball. It's thus hard to find room for the big-hitting seam all-rounder Norman Vanua, with the dependable Chad Soper the only clear candidate to make way in what would be an aggressive switch-up.

Probable XI:Tony Ura, Assad Vala(c), Lega Siaka, Sese Bau, Hiri Hiri, Charles Amini, Kiplin Doriga(w), Chad Soper, Alei Nao, Kabua Morea, John Kariko

Team Watch:Uganda

No word of any fitness concerns in the Uganda camp, though there's every chance of some change-ups in the playing eleven.

Tactics & Matchups:Akeal Hosein was by a distance the most economical of the West Indies bowlers against PNG, so Masaba may still turn to Ramjani or Sseseyondo in the powerplay despite the Papuan's enviable balance of left and right-handers through the order. Those same left-handers do argue for the inclusion of an offspin option however. Veteran offie Frank Nsubuga was the best bower for Uganda when the two sides last met, and by a quite glaring margin. It would be a surprise to see him left on the bench again. Young Juma Miyagi is also still awaiting a World Cup debut, and may come in for either Bilal Hassan or Dinesh Nakrani, albeit at the cost of batting depth.

Probable XI: Ronak Patel, Simon Ssesazi(w), Roger Mukasa, Riazat Ali Shah, Dinesh Nakrani, Alpesh Ramjani, Robinson Obuya, Brian Masaba(c), Frank Nsubuga, Cosmas Kyewuta, Henry Ssenyondo

Did you know?

Asad Vala and Frank Nsubuga have played every official match between these two teams so far, going back to the 2005 ICC Trophy - which was the teenaged Vala's first senior tour, while Nsubuga was by then already and established international.

What they said:

"We've still got three more games and we pull off two wins in those three games, you never know where we can be, because of how tight this group can be with the so-called three top teams and then us at the bottom, but we're not looking at it like that, we're looking at it like five teams in this, and we need to play our best and try and win two games, possibly three, and get out of the tournament into the next round." - PNG consultant coach Phil Simmons

"As far as tomorrow's game is concerned, we are really looking forward to upgrade our game, upgrade our skill sets, try, and execute that. It is all about executing. We can plan a lot of things but unless and until we execute things we might land up in all those kind of things but players are really looking forward for the tomorrow's game and we are really positive about it. We will try and implement the plans so that everything falls in place." - Uganda head coach Abhay Sharma

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