Geraint Jones helps PNG beat Irish in World Twenty20 warm-up

Geraint Jones
ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier warm-up, Dubai:
Papua New Guinea 161-8 (20 overs) beat Ireland 143-7 (20 overs) by 18 runs
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Former England Test star Geraint Jones helped Papua New Guinea beat Ireland in their final warm-up game ahead of the World Twenty20 qualifiers.

Papua New Guinea native Jones top-scored with 39 as they posted 161-8 from their 20 overs.

After a decent start, the Irish innings got bogged down after the departures of William Porterfield and Paul Stirling.

The Irish needed 24 off the last over but Gary Wilson's dismissal ended their hopes as they finished on 143-7.

Kent wicketkeeper batsman Jones was well supported in the Papua New Guinea innings by Tony Ura (32), Kila Pala (31) and Mahuru Dai (20).

Kevin O'Brien took three wickets but Papua New Guinea's sizeable total represented a tough target for the Irish.

In reply, Ireland made a promising start as skipper Porterfield and Stirling left them on 31-0 after four overs.

However, Stirling (10) and Porterfield (20) quickly departed to leave the Irish well behind the required run-rate at 41-2 after seven overs.

The Irish never really looked likely to chase down Papua New Guinea's total despite the efforts of the O'Brien brothers Kevin (36) and Niall (23) and Wilson (36).

They needed 24 off the last over but the Wilson's departure with five balls remaining ended Ireland's hopes.

Ireland will open their qualifying campaign with Friday's clash against a highly-rated Namibia outfit.

With six teams qualifying for next Spring's World Twenty20 tournament in Bangladesh, the Irish will be strong favourites to progress but Wednesday's defeat may be something of a wake-up call for Phil Simmons's squad.

The Irish had defeated the Netherlands on Tuesday after two victories last week over a Wings XI.

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