Host nation the team to beat on opening day
ICC media release
Samoa has won both of their matches on the opening day of the ICC EAP Division 2 Trophy in Apia with crushing victories over both the Republic of Korea and Tonga. The ease of their wins will leave the tournament favourites fresh for day 2.
"With two wins like we had today it will certainly help our bodies with the recovery time for our matches tomorrow," said Samoan star player Loutala Fuinaono who was man of the match in both of Samoa's games on day 1.
The Philippines too were impressive winning both of their matches to join Samoa on top of the table.
Indonesia and Tonga both finished the day with one win each, while the Cook Islands and the Republic of Korea will enter day two in search of their first win of the tournament.
In the morning matches Samoa recorded a decisive 9 wicket victory over International debutants the Republic of Korea thanks to an outstanding bowling display from Loutala Fuinaono who took 3-2 from his three overs. Sean Cotter top scored with the bat making 29.
The Philippines made history with their first ever victory in an ICC event with an ominous display against the young Indonesian side. Restricting Indonesia to 6-105 from their 20 overs, the Philippines passed the total with 7 wickets in hand and more than 5 overs to spare after some huge hitting from their top order.
"It was a fantastic win from the boys, but we are still very focused on every match that we still have to play," said Philippines player Vimal Kumar who took 2 wickets and made 25 runs. "We're ready to rock."
Tonga caused what many believed to be the first major upset of the tournament by defeating the Cook Islands in a highly entertaining match on ground 3.
The Tongans finished with 7-165 off their 20 overs to stamp themselves as definite contenders in the tournament.
Nikolasi Moala was outstanding with the bat powering to 62 runs and set up the victory.
The Cook Islands had their moments in the run chase but in the end could not overhaul the impressive total and fell short by 39 runs.
"Two years ago we lost to the Cook Islands so it's great to see that all of our preparation has paid off," said man of the match Moala. "A win like this really gives us a lot of confidence for the remainder of the tournament."
Tonga's celebrations were short lived however when Samoa rolled them for only 39 in the afternoon game thanks to another tremendous bowling display by Fuimaono who picked up another 2 wickets. The host nation then cruised to victory with the loss of only 1 wicket.
"It was a 100% effort by the boys in both games and everything is going along just as the coach has wanted at this stage," said Fuimaono. "It does help when our strike bowlers are bowling well though."
The Philippines proved in their afternoon match that they are not in Samoa to simply make up the numbers and may yet prove the biggest threat to the host nation in claiming the title.
The Philippines were magnificent against a strong Cook Islands side by first restricting them to 126 runs and then chasing down the total with 5 wickets in hand and 20 balls remaining thanks to another terrific performance by Vimal Kumar who made 37 runs.
In the final match Indonesia accounted for a brave Republic of Korea by five wickets in a composed performance by the tournaments youngest team.
Korea gave the Indonesians an early scare racing to 0-33 off the first three overs via some huge hitting from Tahir Muhammed. However his departure saw a collapse from the Korean team as Indonesia fought back strongly to bowl them out for 90.
Indonesia then chased down the total with 17 balls to spare.
Play begins again tomorrow at 9:30am local time.