CAPTION:?Man of the match Tukana Tavo celebrates a Fiji wicket. Photo: SUPPLIED.
After Sunday morning?s 10-wicket victory over Indonesia, Fiji put in another strong performance to beat Japan by 9 wickets in Monday?s morning session of the 2013 Pepsi ICC East Asia-Pacific Men?s Championship at Waikaraka Park.
On a Waikaraka Park 1 wicket which had lost none of its spice from the previous day, Fiji had no hesitation in bowling first upon victory at the coin toss.
They were rewarded with the crucial wicket of Japanese opener and captain Alexander Patmore in the second over, bowled neck and crop by a beautiful delivery from Vuiyasawa Mateiwaqa.
Patmore?s departure resulted in a flurry of wickets as Japan lost three wickets without troubling the scoreboard to slump to 17-5 in the seventh over.
Mateiwaqa trapped Naoki Miyaji, Japan?s top scorer and the only batsman to make it into double digits, lbw before Tukana Tavo forced a thick edge from Kazuyuki Ogawa (2) towards gully, where Joji Bulabalavu flung himself to his left to snaffle an athletic take.
Tavo followed up two deliveries later by removing Shunsuke Hashiba for a duck with a delivery that struck the batsman plumb in front.
Naotsune Miyaji, Tavo?s third victim, followed the top order back to the marquee with the score at 28 in the 11th over. Four deliveries later, Makoto Taniyama was run out without addition to the score after a terrible mix-up with Seiji Sugiura, who gamely hung around for 15 deliveries before subsequently departing for a duck in the 12th over.
Some nifty glovework from Fijian stumper Colin Rika removed Japan?s last batsman Shodai Yamada for a golden duck leaving Japan with work to do all out for 38.
The Fijian opening pair of Sekove Ravoka and Colin Rika progressed cautiously, safe in the knowledge that the required run rate was less than two per over. They put on 28 before Satoshi Nakano prevented a second consecutive 10-wicket victory for Fiji by dismissing Ravoka.
Gregory Browne came in at first drop for Fiji and hit the winning runs with a boundary through cover as Fiji wrapped up victory with 69 balls to spare.
Tavo, with 3-6 from his four overs, was a deserving Man of the Match winner and was very pleased with Fiji?s performances in their opening two games.
?We were particularly strong in the first three to four overs, which was the most important part of the game as the pitch was moving around a bit. We bowled very well and I was also happy with my own bowling. I will try to do the same thing against Cook Islands [in their match on Monday afternoon]. We are very happy with our start to the tournament,” Tavo said.