Day Three Round Up - Grey Skies Clear
ICC Development (East Asia-Pacific) media release
The morning of Day 3 presented inclement weather that threatened significant delays in the day's schedule. Fortunately 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start the skies cleared and the ground staff got busy getting the grounds ready for action as soon as possible averting any serious delays in play.
Remarkably only a few overs were lost over the entire day; a day that Tonga will long remember for two solid victories; a day Japan will gain invaluable experience after tough matches against the two leading teams and a day where PNG and Vanuatu consolidated their positions at the top of the ladder.
Today's matches produced some close results and good competitive cricket, this follows encouraging words from the Prime Minister who has declared his support for the International version of the game.
In the morning game Tonga recorded their first victory of Fiji in any form of cricket for about 15 years securing an enthralling 2 run win. Tonga, defending 60 runs was going to be a difficult prospect even given the slow outfield conditions, however spirited bowling and enthusiastic fielding restricted Fiji to 58 before their 7th and final wicket fell.
Tonga backed up this impressive win with a solid win against the Cook Islands that places them in 3rd position on the ladder with one round of
preliminary matches to play.
In another close encounter the host country Samoa recorded a rousing 2 wicket win against the Cook Islands. In the 16 over match, Cook Islands batted first and made 50, thanks largely to a great bowling effort from Tiafala who returned 3 for 8 from his 4 overs. In return Samoa stumbled early to be 5 for 34 before Aleki and Tiafala steadied the innings and guided the home team to a two wicket win.
Unfortunately for the hosts they couldn't maintain their momentum and were defeated by Fiji, who were keen to consolidate their spot in the top half of the ladder. Even contributions from Cakacaka, Saulekaleka and Tukana helped Fiji to a imposing 116. In reply Samoa made 41, 29 of which come from opening batsman Chris.
Fiji's left arm bowler Vignesh captured the amazing figures of 3 for 0 from his 2 overs.
Japan had the toughest of their three days playing against the top two teams Vanuatu and PNG. In both cases the Japanese batting line-up was dismissed cheaply against quality and disciplined attacks. Two highlights of the Vanuatu v Japan encounter was firstly the hat-trick taken by Victor Aru of Vanuatu and secondly three memorable catches from the Japan team in the one over.