PNG were fully deserving of their victory, following up a positive batting display with a disciplined bowling performance which saw Ireland always struggling to maintain the required run rate.
PNG openers Tony Ura (32) and Kila Pala (31) got their side off to a racing start, adding 62 in just 40 balls as an Irish failed to bowl a consistent line or indeed length.
Former England Test player Geraint Jones took advantage of the platform to top score with a well manufactured 39 from just 26 balls (2 fours, 2 sixes), and despite an improved second half display, PNG were still able to score an imposing 161 for 8.
Kevin O’Brien (3-31) was the most successful of the Irish attack, with Paul Stirling (2-18) also bowling well in his three overs.
The Irish reply started steadily if not spectacularly with William Porterfield (24) and Paul Stirling (10) adding 38, before the latter perished on the deep midwicket boundary attempting to force the pace.
Porterfield was bowled by opposing skipper Amini shortly afterwards, bringing Kevin O’Brien to the crease. He and brother Niall set about trying to get Ireland back on track and gradually they upped the tempo adding 49 in 36 balls.
The crucial point came at 91 for 2, when Kevin was adjudged lbw having reached 30 from 19 balls (4 fours), and from that point PNG assumed total control, never relinquishing it.
Gary Wilson batted manfully in making 36 from 26 deliveries – including Ireland’s solitary six of the match – but their final total of 143 for 7 saw them beaten by 18 runs.
PNG bowled well as a unit, with John Reva (3-25) the most successful, although Norman Vanua (2-27) and Chris Amini (1-25) also impressed.
The defeat will serve as a wake-up call for the Irish who if they didn’t know it already, will know there are going to be no easy games in this competition.
The Irish get their tournament proper under way on Friday when they face Namibia in Abu Dhabi.