Fiji have finished their Twenty20 campaign in Lismore on a high, after winning their final match of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region’s Men’s Trophy against the Philippines today.
Winning the toss, Fiji expectantly chose to bat, and once again the opening partnership of captain Joe Rika and Jikoi Kida Vanualevu seemed to be a choice combination, with them reaching a massive 67 runs before Kida was dismissed for 29 runs off 16 balls in the 6th over.
Joe continued on his merry way, with a Man of the Match performance of 47 runs off 35 balls, whilst Matty Gauna also chipped in with an unbeaten 39 runs, to help Fiji to a healthy first innings total of 5-174 after their allotted 20 overs.
The Philippines were not afraid to hit big when it was their turn to come to the crease, but Fiji’s total with the bat and tight performance in the field meant they’d done enough, cruising to a 58-run win, and third place on the overall leader board for the tournament. Opening bowler, Viliame Manakitoga, also received two votes towards the count for Player of the Tournament, for his bowling performance of 2-18 off four overs.
The win cemented Fiji’s third spot on the tournament’s overall leader board, winning five matches, with losses to eventual winners Papua New Guinea, by just 22 runs, and Vanuatu by 35 runs, despite recording a higher net run rate than the second-place getters.
Caption: Viliame Yabaki batting for Fiji today against the Philippines.
This also means Fiji will advance to the 50-over segment of the tournament in first position, with PNG and Vanuatu already securing spots in the World Cricket League. They will play Japan in a 50-over match on Tuesday, with the winner advancing to the final qualifying match for a position in World Cricket League Division 6.
At the conclusion of today’s matches, a closing ceremony was conducted for the Twenty20 component of the tournament. The team of the tournament was named, which included Fijians Viliame Mana, Riyad Khan, and Sekove Ravoka, who were named along with five players from PNG, three from Vanuatu, as well as Samoan captain, Ben Mailata, who was also named captain of Team of the Tournament.
It was a particular coup to have Sekove named as the team’s wicket keeper, after an exceptional first tournament keeping for Fiji, taking 13 catches and making four stampings.
To top off the celebrations for Fiji, Riyad was named equal Player of the Tournament with Lega Siaka from PNG, for taking a massive 19 wickets for the tournament. The next closest wicket taker totalled 10 wickets for the tournament.
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