Caption: Giles Smith with the bat for Fiji against Vanuatu this morning. (Photo credit: Steve Holland)
After day two of play in the 2014 International Cricket Council?s (ICC) East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region?s Men?s Trophy, Fiji are sitting fourth on the overall leaderboard.
This morning 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.
It was a ripping start for Fiji, with Vanuatu openers Trevor Langa and Jonathon Dunn falling cheaply, thanks to some ripping catches from new Fiji keeper, Sekove Ravoka. However then entered 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, despite opening with spin, Jelany Chilia was extremely economical for Vanuatu, 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.
At the conclusion of the match, Vanuatu captain, Andrew Mansale, 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.?
Giles Smith received one vote in the race for the Player of the Tournament award, for his game-high score of 49 runs.
Over at Oakes Oval this afternoon, Fiji and Japan were both looking to make amends for losses in the morning. Winning the toss Japan sent Fiji into bat, who reached 9-161 after their 20 overs.
The Fijian players shared the load around with the bat, but notable standouts were skipper Gauna, who scored 38 runs off 33 balls, and Man of the Match, Viliame Yabaki, who finished on 22 not out.
In reply Japan started strong, but eventually succumbed to the Fijian spinners, ending up all out for 79 runs in the 18th over. Riyad Khan made sure he took multiple wickets in every game played in the tournament so far, with figures of 3-11, whilst Yabaki sealed his Man of the Match award by taking 3-18.
As well as Yabaki?s award, Gauna received one vote for his performance with the bat.
At the conclusion of the match, Fijian opening bowler, Imran Khan, said his side was much happier with their performance in the afternoon game.
?It was a much improved performance both with the bat and ball, so it was good to come away with a win. We really need to focus game by game, and continue to improve every time we take the field.?
Tomorrow is a rest day for all teams, with play resuming on Saturday, when Fiji will take on Samoa and the Cook Islands.
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