Mong Kok: A captain's innings from Assad Vala and a six-wicket haul from Chad Soper helped Papua New Guinea win its second One-Day International against Hong Kong by 14 runs and level the three-match series being played at Mission Road Ground in Mong Kok, Hong Kong.
Batting first, PNG put up 201 before being bowled out in 45.5 overs, but then bowled Hong Kong out for 187 with 11 balls left in the chase.
After losing the first exchange by 106 runs, PNG started poorly on Sunday, slipping to 18 for 2 and then 39 for 3 as Nadeem Ahmed, the left-arm spinner, struck thrice – both openers, Tony Ura and Vani Morea, were out stumped, while Lega Siaka was trapped in front for 22.
But Vala scoring 70 in 87 balls with nine fours and two sixes, to keep the innings on track even though there were no other contributions of note.
Nadeem ended with 4 for 50, while Anshuman Rath, the other left-arm spinner in the team, returned 3 for 28 and Aizaz Khan, the right-arm medium pacer, picked up 2 for 40.
Soper, the 24-year-old right-arm medium pacer, was all over the Hong Kong top order after that, striking twice in the third over of the innings to send back Kinchit Shah, the opener, and Babar Hayat, who had scored a match-winning 95-ball 77 in the first ODI, for ducks.
Soper then accounted for Jamie Atkinson, the wicketkeeper-opening batsman, for a 32-ball 23, but then began the fightback from Hong Kong, led by Nizakat Khan and Rath.
The two put on 49 runs for the fourth wicket to revive the chase, but Vala, after his stellar show with the bat, returned to send back Nizakat (33 in 39 balls) with his off-spin to break the stand and leave Hong Kong at 80 for 4.
That became 98 for 5 soon after when Mahuru Dai, the leg-spinner, dismissed Rath for a 36-ball 21.
It was Soper, returning to the attack, who finished things off, first with the wicket of Wasif (45 in 69 balls), and then the scalps of Aizaz and Kyle Christie. Ehsan remained unbeaten on 27 from 67 balls, but needed someone to provide the impetus, which just didn't come.
Soper's 6 for 41 earned him the man of the match award, which Dai finished with 2 for 42 and Vala and John Reva had one wicket each.
The decisive third ODI of the series will be played at the same venue on Tuesday.
Papua New Guinea - 201 (Vala 70, Nadeem 4-50, Rath 3-28)
Hong Kong - 187 (Soper 6-41)
Result - Papua New Guinea won by 14 runs