Team Fiji wins Bronze.Photo:SUPPLIED.
A big hitting Fijian line-up have beaten Vanuatu in the play-off for bronze just a day after going down to them in the final pool game of the Pacific Games. Cricket Fiji went in to bat first in the do or die match, but struggled early with a top order collapse leaving them 7-57 in the 13th over.
Enter Cricket Fiji’s not so secret weapon Ruci Mariyalo, the top ranked bowler and equal top ranked batter in the Pacific Games. By the time Mariyalo had been caught in the final over, Fiji had raced to 8-118, with Mariyalo smashing an almost unbelievable seven 6’s and four 4’s. The innings left her on 72 off just 36 balls, and an early jubilant Vanuatu in the nervous position of having to chase down 118 in the last innings of the tournament.
Vanuatu started strongly and seemingly had the game in their grasp as an innings of 43 from Andrew, 15 from Chilia and 15 from Tarimiala had them cruising to victory at 86-3 in just the 11th over.
However Ruci Mariyalo having recovered from her big innings was brought into the bowling attack, taking three quick wickets and leaving the Vanuatu squad in trouble, entering the last over 105-9. Despite having every chance to win the game, the final run-out of Vanuatu’s Chilia by 16 year old Fijian Waqavakatoga gave Fiji the win, securing the Bronze medal and sending the Fijian Cricket community into celebrations.
The Gold medal match proved equally as thrilling as an unbeaten PNG Lewas took on Samoa infront of a home crowd, a team they had cruised to victory over in the pool game. Samoa batted first, but after some strong bowling by PNG found themselves on 103 at the end of the twenty overs. PNG kept on target, but lost too many wickets, finishing their 20 over just 3 runs short.