Sport: PNG Barramundi's confident of matching Ireland

10:22 pm on 30 January 2016

Papua New Guinea are talking up their chances in the Barramundis third round Intercontinental Cup cricket match against Ireland in Townsville.

PNG are sixth in the competition standings after beating the top-ranked Netherlands in their debut match and losing to Afghanistan in their first two matches.

Cricket PNG's High Performance Manager, Rarua Dikana, says they've learned a lot in the last few months and are starting to get the hang of the four-day game.

"Now they understand what's expected, especially in playing longer-format cricket. The last two matches were learning curves for the boys and to have played really well against the Netherlands was a good indication that the boys are now on the right track. Also, Afghanistan - to secure valuable points against two of the top sides was a satisfying feeling for the boys to ensure that we mean business in the longer format".

Papua New Guinea were beaten by Afghanistan in a four-day match in Sharjah.

Papua New Guinea were beaten by Afghanistan in a four-day match in Sharjah. Photo: Cricket PNG

The PNG squad haven't played a competitive match since facing Afghanistan in November but the bulk of the squad has been training in Port Moresby since the end of last year.

Ireland have won both of their matches in the Intercontinental Cup to date - against UAE and Namibia - by more than an innings but Rarua Dikana believes the Barramundis will be competitive.

"We're not going to sit back and expect Ireland to topple us. We're going to come in with the side and get up for it - the boys have worked really hard and really well".

The match is technically a home fixture for PNG but is being hosted in Townsville because the facilities in Port Moresby have yet to be cleared by the ICC.

Following the I-Cup game, Papua New Guinea and Ireland will play three official Twenty20 internationals in Townsville, with the Barramundis having won the last two encounters between the teams.