‘Our batters let us down’ – PNG captain Assad Vala after defeat to Uganda

Papua New Guinea captain Assad Vala said that their batters couldn’t adjust to the Providence Stadium pitch against Uganda on Wednesday. PNG were bowled out for 77, their lowest total in T20Is, and eventually suffered their second defeat at the T20 World Cup 2024. in what turned out to be a low-scoring encounter.

Hiri Hiri’s 15 was the top score for PNG, while only two others reached double figures. They succumbed to Uganda’s pace bowlers first, and then the spinners took grip of their batting. Vala, who fell in the first over for a duck, felt that there were too many soft dismissals in their innings.

“Because it was a new wicket, we didn’t have a target set,” Vala said. “We said to give ourselves a few overs then see how we go from there. As the game progressed, I think we didn’t do that. I think the batters that played today really let ourselves down. We didn’t do as we planned.

“We had a lot of soft dismissals. I think anything just over 100 was a good score on that wicket. It was a challenging wicket to bat on. They bowled really well but a lot of soft dismissals from us put them on top. They never gave us any chance to get back into the game. So, credit to them as well.”

Vala however lauded his bowlers who reduced Uganda to 6 for 3 in the third over. They further slipped to 26 for 5 before Riazat Ali Shah and Juma Miyagi restored the Uganda innings with a 35-run stand. Riazat enjoyed some luck in his crucial 33, surviving an easy dropped chance by fielder Charles Amini on 8; that was one of two dropped chances let off by PNG in their defense of a small target.

“I thought that the effort from the bowlers really brought us back into the game,” Vala said. “There weren’t enough runs on the board for them to defend. We started really well with three early wickets.

“You need everything to go your way in a small total. We created the opportunities at the same time. When we need to take those chances, I don’t know what to say anymore. It is a disappointing effort from us.”

Vala doesn’t want his troop to drop their shoulders yet. They have matches against Afghanistan and New Zealand next, so he wants to see the energy levels they displayed against West Indies in their opening game.

“We are coming up against two Full Member nations in Afghanistan and New Zealand in the next two games in Trinidad. I think we need to be up for that,” he said. “We don’t get the opportunity to play against those teams so when the opportunity is in front of us, we need to make the best of it.

“I think we need to have the full energy, determination and attitude towards playing against top teams. We got outplayed today, to be honest. We didn’t play as well as we did against West Indies so we need to have the right attitude in the next two games.”


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