A massive win over Indonesia leaves PNG sitting on top of the leaderboard, after round three of matches at the 2014 International Cricket Council East Asia Pacific (ICC EAP) Men’s Trophy in Lismore.
Vanuatu and Samoa also remain undefeated, after morning wins over Fiji and the Cook Islands respectively, whilst the Philippines notched up their first win of the 2014 tournament over Japan.
This morning (Thursday November 20) Fiji took on Vanuatu over at Mortimer Oval. Stand in Fiji captain for the injured Joe Rika, Matty Gauna, won the toss and sent Vanuatu into bat.
Openers Trevor Langa and Jonathon Dunn fell cheaply, thanks to some ripping catches from new Fiji keeper, Sekove Ravoka. Enter Vanuatu captain, Andrew Mansale, who steadied the innings, amassing 42 runs off 28 balls.
Fiji rallied however, and Mansale’s scalp was eventually claimed by first gamer for the Fiji senior side, Jack Smith. However the runs kept coming steadily, just as the wickets kept falling, and in the end Vanuatu finished their innings on 128 with one wicket in hand.
It was anybody’s game, with a run-a-ball total posted by Vanuatu, which Fiji was champing at the bit to chase down. However, opening with spin of Jelany Chilia Vanuatu was extremely economical, with a maiden first over and claiming a wicket in the second.
Fiji openers Rabici Lesuma and Makutu Seru fell cheaply, but Ravoka and Giles Smith built a partnership and Fiji looked still in the hunt. Boundaries began to flow, but so did wickets. When Fijian Twenty20 specialist, Maciu Gauna, was trapped LBW for 2, it seemed that both wickets in hand and overs were running out for Fiji, particularly as Patriuck Matautaava continued to cause havoc for Fiji’s lower order. In the end Fiji were bowled out for 93 in 18.3 overs, handing Vanuatu a 35 run win.
Vanuatu captain, Andrew Mansale, who was also judged second-best afield for his performance with the bat, said that his team’s mix of young and experienced players was what he felt was their advantage over the competition.
‘We’ve got heaps of young players and very experienced players. Looking at the other teams, they’ve got heaps of young players as well, so the only advantage we’ve got is we’ve got a lot more experienced players in there.’
In other matches this morning, Samoa took on the Cook Islands at Oakes Oval. Batting first, Samoa notched up a huge first innings total of 4-203 after their 20 overs, largely thanks to a massive knock of 89 runs from their captain, Ben Mailata.
The Cooks withstood most of their 20 overs with the bat, but were eventually dismissed for 115 runs in 19.2 overs. Maletino Lane Maiava, Pasi Kalosi Kaisa and Sean Cotter were all extremely economical for Samoa with the ball.
Over at Heaps Oval, Japan played host to the Philippines. Japan finished 9-102 thanks to a solid 40 from Tomiki Ota, but the chase was all too easy for the Philippines, who cruised to a six-wicket victory, reaching the winning total in 14.4 overs.
Despite not having an ideal start to the tournament on day one, Philippines team manager, Faisal Khan, said the team was feeling buoyed from their win this morning.
‘We lost a few wickets in the beginning which made us a bit nervous, but in the end we kept our heads nicely and with some good partnerships it was a comfortable win. We have a tough game against PNG this afternoon but we remain really positive about our chances.’
The final game of the morning was between PNG and Indonesia over at Blair Oval. Openers Lega Siaka and Assadollah Vala put on a master class with the bat, leading PNG to a massive first innings total of 4-225 off their 20 overs.
In reply Indonesia hung in there with the bat, finishing the innings with one wicket in hand, but it wasn’t enough to compete with the might of PNG, who cruised to a huge 197-run victory.