The coaching staff, led by National Coach, Carl Sandri, altered the team lists to change the game dynamics; a luxury afforded in this in-house competition.
The theory behind the changes as explained by Sandri was “to essentially try to manipulate the game so we had more contests between the top ranked batsmen and the top ranked bowlers, hopefully creating as much competition as we can between the two skill sets”.
The first game saw the Legends bat first, whose top six replicated the Barras’ last international match.
Nosaina Pokana removed Ura early, bowled for one, then Damien Ravu had Siaka caught behind for four. CJ Amini followed out for five and the Legends were struggling against the quicks at 3/21 before Assad Vala and Sese Bau built a 56 run partnership to steady the innings.
Bau fell for 30 as Vala (47) continued in partnership with Doriga (22) with the score at 6/123 at the end of the innings.
The bowling was sharp led by Ravu 2/15 and Nao 2/16 while Pokana and Hekure finished with one wicket each.
The Board XI opened with Toka and Atai but it was Hiri batting at three that took the game up to the Legends with 49 runs off just 36 balls. He had some help from Ainui Ere (16) and Alei Nao (11) but the Board side fell just five runs short, bowled out on the second ball of the last over.
Sema Kamea bowled well, finishing with 3/25 and the spin twins, Bau & Amini, both getting two wickets each.
With a close loss in the morning game, the Board XI batted with purpose in the afternoon match, racking up 8/163 batting first.
Gaudi Toka carried his bat through the innings with 50 not out, Norman Vanua batting at six made 40 in and 81 run stand, with Toka and Hiri adding 18 runs in quick time. The Legends bowlers shared the wickets around with Bau, Vala, Lohia, two wickets each, Kamea and Amini with one each.
The Legends’ chase was off to a disastrous start with Vala out without scoring, caught behind off Pokana.
Tony Ura was dismissed for 16 then Siaka for 9 before CJ Amini and Sese Bau came together and changed the course.
Bau lifted the run rate with 29 off just 19 balls while Amini was building into a big score, their partnership was 38, Amini then put on another 28 runs with Doriga (10).
Amini was composed, although battling cramp, as he controlled the run chase, hitting a boundary with two balls to spare, sealing a 5 wicket victory and finishing on 79 not out.
The Board XI used six bowlers with five getting a wicket each, Hiri with 1/24 off his four overs the best.
Coach Sandri was pleased with the day’s play, saying: “We had two good games of cricket, with the bowlers probably just getting the better of the batsmen in the first game while we got a cracking run chase in the second.
“CJ was obviously very good today with his 79 not out, as was Toka and Vanua.
“In the first game, Hiri and Vala batted well. The bowlers shared the wickets around, Sese Bau bowled well in both games and young Sema picking up 3/25 will give him some confidence. We moved some players around and got the desired contest, all in all it was a productive day’s cricket.”
The Isuzu T20 Bash continues Friday with both the Lewas and the Barras playing.
All games are livestreamed and can be viewed at www.matchcentre.cricketpng.org.pg