CAPTION: Saimoni Tuitoga at the man of the match presentation.
By LAURA MACINTOSH
Cricket Fiji’s U19s have made a great start to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) East-Asia Pacific (EAP) region U19 Trophy, with a four-wicket win over Samoa.
Due to persistent wet weather on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the start of play was delayed until 1.15pm AEST and the match reduced to 20 overs per side, but thanks to the tireless work of the groundskeepers at the Maroochydore Cricket Club, play was able to go ahead for the first time this week.
Fiji’s captain, Jack Smith, won the toss, and elected to bowl on what was a bowling-friendly pitch.
Joe Rika’s young side were on fire with the ball, dismissing Samoa for 32 runs in 15.1 overs. Saimoni Tuitoga and Cakacaka Tikoisuva both took 3-9 off their designated fours overs, whilst Sowane Puamau took 2-7. The captain, Smith, and vice-captain, William Nawai, also chipped in with one wicket each – which was a particularly amazing effort from Nawai, having switched from medium-pace to spin bowling only a few months ago.
In reply, Samoa’s never-say-die attitude with the ball made Fiji’s run-chase harder than expected, particularly for Manase Tikotikoca, who copped a sharp knock on the chin and required stitches. Fiji finally wrapped up the match in the 16th over with four wickets to spare, however, 21 of their runs were due to sundries.
It was a tough call given two players had the same bowling figures, but Tuitoga was presented with the tournament’s first Man of the Match award.
It was a fantastic effort by both teams, both of which had extremely limited turf-pitch experience. Smith said he was please with his side’s effort in the field, but hoped they could lift their batting performance for tomorrow match against Vanuatu.
For full results go to; http://www.crichq.com/matches/