Abu Dhabi: A gritty half-century by Vani Morea, followed by an inspired bowling effort helped Papua New Guinea finish second on the World Cricket League Championship table with a 26-run win over United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Morea's 52 -- the only half-century in the PNG innings -- helped the side to 232 for 9 in 50 overs. UAE's Ghulam Shabber responded with a gritty 100-ball 70, but Assad Vala's 3 for 20 in 10 overs halted UAE's charge. In doing so, PNG levelled the three-match series against the home side.
Batting first, PNG lost Tony Ura early, but Morea steadied the ship with contributions from the middle order. His 52-run stand with Lega Siaka for the second wicket was the highest partnership in PNG's innings.
Dogodo Bau, the wicketkeeper, made 46 to further prop up PNG alongside Vala, the captain, and Sese Bau while Norman Vanua's unbeaten 13-ball 18 gave the visiting side the impetus late in the innings.
Imran Haider, the legspinner, took 2 for 31 in 10 overs and was the pick of UAE's bowlers, while Zahoor Khan also finished with two wickets but conceded 34 runs in four overs.
UAE started solidly in the chase. Mohammad Qasim fell to Vanua for 11, but Rohan Mustafa, the captain, and Shabber, added 68 runs for the second wicket before the former fell to Mahuru Dai for 37.
Shabber was undeterred as he forged a 57-run stand with Shaiman Anwar, but the latter was run out for 15 and it proved to be the turning point. Vala, the offspinner, snared Shabber moments later and triggered a collapse.
Muhammad Usman was the last man dismissed after a run-a-ball 30 as UAE was bowled out for 206 in 47.4 overs.
PNG won seven of its ten WCL games, thus securing the second spot behind the Netherlands on the table. UAE finished second from bottom with only two wins from 10 games. Namibia, who has two games to go, could push UAE to the last spot if it wins even one of those fixtures.
Both teams have finished their quota of WCL games, but UAE will lock horns with PNG for another 50-over match in Abu Dhabi on April 4.
Papua New Guinea - 232 for 8 (Morea 52, Haider 2-31)
United Arab Emirates - 206 (Shabber 70, Vala 3-20)
Result - Papua New Guinea won by 26 runs