PAPUA New Guinea has created history by winning its maiden first-class match – a memorable five-wicket victory over Netherlands – in the ICC Intercontinental Cup in Amstelveen, Netherlands.
PNG, resuming on a tenuous 66 for 2, rode on an Assad Vala century and a half-century from Mahuru Dai to chase down the 305-run target Netherlands had set.
The day began with PNG needing 239 runs, and though it lost Vani Morea and Charles Amini early, Vala and Dai defied the Netherlands bowlers to take the visitor closer to the target.
Vala was cautious and focused on consolidation during the partnership. The pair had added 200 runs for the fifth wicket and looked set to take PNG to victory when Michael Rippon trapped Dai in front for 91. His 160-ball knock included eight fours and a six.
Vala then teamed up with Jack Vare, the PNG captain, to wrap up the innings with an unbroken 23-run stand. Vala’s 200-ball 124 was studded with 13 boundaries.
PNG, playing the ICC Intercontinental Cup for the first time, is now third on the table, while Netherlands, in its seventh appearance in the tournament, is sixth. Ireland and Namibia lead the table.
The winner will play the tenth-ranked side on the ICC test team rankings. If the team wins the series, to be played on a home-and-away basis, it will become the eleventh Test nation.