Fiji and Samoa will face off at Oakes Oval tomorrow for the right to join Vanuatu and represent the East-Asia Pacific region in World Cricket League Division 6. Fiji had an easy win over Japan in the first semi-final today, whilst Samoa registered a similarly crushing win over the Philippines.
In the first 50-over encounter for their teams in Lismore, Fiji, who finished top of the teams still in the running to qualify for World Cricket League Division 6, took on Japan. Winning the toss, Japan elected to bat, but had a horror start to the innings when their captain, Amigo Kobayashi, was struck in the ribs by a full toss from big Fijian opening bowler, Viliame Mana. He was carried from the ground, and taken to hospital for medical attention.
The show had to go on, and Kobayashi’s counterpart, Prashant Kale, did his fallen captain proud at the crease, standing his ground until the 30th over, amassing 46 runs. Wickets fell around him however, with Fijian spinner Riyad Khan once again creating havoc, taking 3-13, and Jikoi Vanualevu Kida also chiming in, with figures of 5-21.
Japan were buoyed by the miraculous return of their captain to the crease, cleared of any injury, but unfortunately the wickets continued to fall around him, and Japan were dismissed for 103 runs in the 41st over.
It looked as if it would be an easy chase for Fiji, but Japanese opening bowler, Tsuyoshi Takada had other ideas, dismissing Fijian opener, Makutu Seru, early. This didn’t faze Giles Smith however, joining Fiji captain, Joe Rika at the crease for an 100-run partnership, and an easy nine-wicket win for Fiji.
At the conclusion of the match, Rika said whilst it was a good day for his team, they were still one win away from what they had come to Lismore to do.
“Our goal this whole time has been to qualify for re-entry into World Cricket League Division 6, so we will still have a tough game ahead of us tomorrow if we want to do that.”
Meanwhile, over at Mortimer Oval it was another one-sided affair, when Samoa demolished the Philippines. The big-hitting Pacific Islanders batted first, racing to 80 runs, before opener, Sean Cotter, fell in the 19th over. This didn’t seem to worry the Samoans however, with young opener, Fred Sapatu, making an unbeaten century, scoring 133 off 142 balls.
In the scorching Lismore heat, Sapatu batted out the entire Samoan innings as wickets fell around him, and in the end his team were dismissed for a competitive 247 runs in 44.1 overs.
It wasn’t a good start with the bat for the Philippines, with their first seven wickets all falling for single figures thanks to a good all-round Samoan bowling performance. However, thanks to middle-order batsman, Hismanshu Ahuja, the Philippines still had a sniff, with him rocketing to 40 off 51 balls. However his dismissal signaled the end of the tournament for the Philippines, with them being bowled out for 101.
Samoa will now take on Fiji in tomorrow’s 50-over final, with the winner advancing to World Cricket League Division 6.
Wednesday’s match – 10am:
Fiji v Samoa
Scores in Brief:
At Oakes Oval: Fiji v Japan
Japan 103 all out, 40 overs (P Kale 46; J Kida 5-21, R Khan 3-13)
Fiji 1-104, 19 overs (J Rika 63*, G Smith 32*)
Fiji won by 9 wickets
Man of the Match: Jikoi Kida Vanualevu (Fiji)
At Mortimer Oval: Samoa v Philippines
Samoa 247 all out, 4 overs (F Sapatu 133*, S Cotter 32; S Tariq Ali 4-36, R Thakur 3-41)
Philippines 101, 30.4 overs (H Ahuja 40, D Burgess 3-13, M Maiava 2-6)
Samoa won by 146 runs
Man of the Match: Fred Sapatu (Samoa)
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