Saturday, July 18, 2015.
Vanuatu have become only the second team ever to win a gold medal for cricket at the Pacific Games after defeating host country PNG in today’s final by 4 wickets. PNG cruised past Tonga in the morning to earn a place in the gold medal match with a 68 run victory.
PNG Captain Chris Amini won the toss and chose to bat but the PNG batters failed to capitalise on the opportunity with only Chris Amini (33) making any impact on the scoreboard.
Vanuatu’s bowlers were outstanding bowling stump to stump with Patrick Matautaava picking up 3/16 and Andrew Mansale 2/20. A large and vocal local crowd were behind PNG the whole way cheering every run scored and giving the game a fun and festive atmosphere throughout.
Vanuatu suffered a few hiccoughs in their run chase as the PNG bowlers started strongly and Vanuatu were 4/37 with their captain back in the sheds. But Nalin Nipiko (49) and Simpson Obed (15) batted beautifully and took them to 88 before they lost another wicket. A couple of late wickets kept the local crowd on their feet but in the end there weren’t enough runs on the board and Vanuatu passed the target in the 18th over.
This is the first time a team other than PNG has won the gold medal for men’s cricket at the Pacific Games and it showed on the faces of the players at the moment of victory as the whole team streamed onto the field.
In the bronze medal match Tonga won a thriller over a much improved New Caledonia to claim the bronze medal by 7 wickets with just 4 balls to spare.
Gold Medal Match
PNG 98 (19.3) Chris Amini 33, Jason Kila 13, Patrick Matautaava 3/16 defeated by Vanuatu 6/101 (17.1) Nalin Nipiko 49, Patrick Matautaava 17, Simpson Obed 15, Alei Nao 2/13, Raymond Haoda Jr 2/16 by 4 wickets
Bronze Medal Match
New Caledonia 8/163 (20) Emmanuel Katrawi 59, Steeve Tchidopoane, Timote Latu 3/30 defeated by Tonga 3/164 (19.2) Lea Tenisi 45, Aloisio Pau’u 42 by 7 wickets
Pacific Games Medal Summary:
Gold Medal: Vanuatu
Silver Medal: Papua New Guinea
Bronze Medal: Tonga
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