Fiji has stunned the region with a famous five wicket victory over pre-tournament favourites PNG on the first day of competition at the 2015 Pepsi ICC East Asia-Pacific Under 19 Trophy. The win puts Fiji in the box seat to qualify for the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup.
Amazingly this will be the first time PNG have lost in the U19?s format in the history of the tournament, and the first time any Fijian side has beaten a PNG side in cricket since 2001.
PNG won the toss and batted against Fiji but immediately found themselves under pressure thanks to a blistering opening spell from Sosiceni Weleilakeba who claimed his sides first three wickets.
Struggling at 3-33 Sere Sam calmed proceedings down for PNG with a well-made 49. However when he was dismissed caught behind after a brilliant diving catch from Saimoni Tuitoga, PNG limped to all out for 133 off 36.5 overs.
Fiji began the chase with a defensive mindset as they tried to see out the PNG opening bowlers. However once the first wicket fell to a screamer of a catch in the slips from Vagi Guba, it triggered a mini collapse and Fiji went to lunch at 3-25 off 11 overs.
However the curry on offer at lunch clearly had a positive effect on Fiji and in particular Peni Volavola who smashed 73 off 84 to set up one of the greatest wins in recent memory for Fiji. In the end Fiji passed PNG?s total in the 32nd over with five wickets in hand.
?It feels so great to beat a team like PNG,? said Sosiceni Weleilakeba. ?I really want to thank all of my teammates for how they bowled and batted to get this win.?
Fiji coach Shane Jugensen was also buzzing after his sides win.
?To be honest we have had a pretty average preparation with warm up games in New Zealand rained out over the last week,? he said. ?But to sit here and watch the boys play like that gives me a lot of pride. However the other match was close to so anyone can still qualify, we need to remained focused for our next two games against Samoa and Vanuatu.?
Game two starts tomorrow at 10:30am NZ time against Vanuatu.
The Digicel PNG U19 Garamuts suffered a huge 5 wicket defeat at the hands of Fiji on day one of the International Cricket Council (ICC) East-Asia Pacific (EAP) U19 Trophy in New Zealand.
The Garamuts batted first and got off to a disastrous start losing their four opening wickets for only 31 runs.
Garamut?s Sere Sam showed some fight in the middle order top scoring with 49 runs of which included six fours.
Sam?s dismissal triggered a batting collapse as the remaining wickets fell cheaply with no other batsmen able to score above 20 runs. Four batsmen were out for ducks.
The Garamuts were eventually all bowled out in the 36th? over ?for a measly 133 runs.
The Fijians did it easy in their run chase reaching the target in the 31st over for the loss of only 5 wickets.
Peni Volavola scored the bulk of the runs smashing 73 runs to cruise to a victory over the much favoured Garamuts.
Daure William Aiga was the Garamut?s outstanding bowler with figures of 2/24 off his eight overs.
In the other game, Vanuatu narrowly beat Samoa by 16 runs.
– See more at: http://www.pngloop.com/2015/02/24/garamuts-go-fiji/#sthash.XjGUKb1S.dpuf