PNG go top, Fiji notch first win
ICC Media Release
iji have notched up their first victory at the ICC East-Asia Pacific Under 19 Cricket Trophy with a thrilling three run victory over Indonesia at the Maroochydore Cricket Club on Thursday. On the neighbouring ground the PNG juggernaut rolled on with a crushing 10 wicket victory over Japan to leap frog Vanuatu and take top of the table with one round to play.
After a sluggish start thanks to some tight bowling from Gaurav Tiwari that saw Fiji 7-85, an 8th wicket partnership of 95 between Noa Acawei and Nacanielli Rawaico steadied the ship for Fiji who went on to post 190, their highest score of the tournament.
Acawei was magnificent in his innings of 89 not out from 89 deliveries, smashing 9 fours and 3 sixes to put the pressure right back on Indonesia.
"Today was a really important day for me," said Acawei after the match. "I really wanted to go out and prove myself to the team."
Indonesian captain Rizky Rubbi helped keep Fiji's score below 200 with a fine bowling performance of 3-41.
For the majority of the chase Indonesia looked in control with Rubbi (54) and Muhaddis (34) putting together a partnership of 102 before some economical bowling from Tukana Tava and Yalimaiwai pushed the run rate back over 6.0 an over.
Tiwari then entered the match for Indonesia with a bang smashing 45 and keeping Indonesia in the contest.
However needing a four off the last ball to win Yalimaiwai kept his cool clean bowling a gallant Tiwari and securing an memorable victory for Fiji.
"It was a great win and a great match," said Fiji coach Steve Jenkin. "It?s also great to see both teams bat out the 50 overs."
Japan started their match strongly against PNG to be 1-29 after 14 overs, however the introduction of spin bowling triggered a batting collapse that saw Japan all out for only 39.
Lega Siaka and Chris Kent each picked up two wickets and PNG's sharpness in the field contributed to four run outs.
In reply PNG passed the total in 5.1 overs via a huge six over mid-wicket courtesy of Siaka to take his score to 24 and claim man of the match.
Despite the ease of the victory PNG captain Chris Kent is taking nothing for granted prior to his side meeting Vanuatu tomorrow in a match that will determine the winner of the tournament.
"We were a bit slack today and will need to lift for tomorrow but I think we?ll be alright," he said. "It will be nice to be provided with a tough contest tomorrow."
Both Vanuatu and PNG have now guaranteed qualification to the next tournament in Ireland.