CAPTION: Samuela in action for Fiji. Photo: SUPPLIED.
Fiji to play for place in Final
The feature match of Wednesday afternoon at the 2013 Pepsi ICC East Asia-Pacific Men’s Championship saw Fiji end Samoa’s chances of lifting the cup in a tight encounter on Waikaraka Park 6. Fiji will now play Vanuatu tomorrow morning for a place in the final.
Batting first, Samoan captain Ben Mailata was again in fine fettle after his hundred in the morning round against Indonesia and continued his climb up the run-scoring charts.
He single-handedly carried his side as his fellow batting charges succumbed around him, reaching a half-century from 39 balls.
Mailata pushed on to 70 from 52 balls before he became a second stumping victim for Fijian keeper Colin Rika when Sekove Ravoka turned in his second piercing spell of the day. Ravoka ripped through the Samoan middle order to claim 4-29.
Fiji got off to an untroubled start as Ravoka and Colin Rika added 46 in 6.4 overs before Burgess chimed in with ball in hand as well to send Ravoka and Gregory Browne back to the marquee in consecutive deliveries.
Mailata then took his 12th wicket of the tournament by removing Rika for 25 as Fiji lost three for three in eight balls.
Ian West then struck a crucial blow, removing Fiji’s morning half-centurion Joji Bulabalavu for 21 in the 13th. Bulabalavu had looked in fine touch depositing the over’s opening delivery over the boundary at deep midwicket.
But the over nevertheless proved profitable for Fiji as Vuiyasawa Mateiwaqa clubbed two further sixes in the same region to keep Fiji comfortably ahead of the required run-rate.
Mailata too was not done and he snared his second Rika of the match, Josefa lbw for 6, to finish with 2-23.
Burgess returned to the attack and dismissed Mateiwaqa, but not before he had made a rapid, match-winning 41 from 20 deliveries.
Fijian captain Josefa Rika was elated with a win over their regional rivals.
“Samoa’s had it over us for the past couple of years so it’s nice to get one back, especially with a very inexperienced side, which makes the win a little bit sweeter.”
Rika also reserved special praise for Man of the Match Ravoka.
“We’ve tried to adapt [our batting line-up after losing four senior players], so Sekove started opening for us in this competition and has done really well, which makes selection a little harder and that’s a good thing.”
Under no illusions as to the strength of the Vanuatu side, Rika was still upbeat about his side’s chances in tomorrow’s winner-takes-all showdown.
“Vanuatu are going to have the upper hand. We’re going in as underdogs but that suits us and lets us play freely and play in our style.”