The race to be the first team to join the six ODI status associates/affiliates got underway today with the first days play in the EAP Twenty20 Division One tournament in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. And it was the hosts who set their stall out early with two wins over Vanuatu and Samoa.

Against Vanuatu in the morning, an innings of 73 from Tony Ura helped PNG to a total of 150-6 from their 20 overs, with Patrick Matautaava bowling well to take 3-18. Only three Vanuatu batsmen made double figures in reply, but they did reasonably well to score 112-8 to lose by 38 runs.

Ura was again the top scorer in the afternoon game against promoted side Samoa, scoring 69 from 37 balls (remarkably with only one six) before he was out having put on an opening partnership of 112 Asad Vala. Vala was eventually out for 65 and PNG went on to score 182-6 in their 20 overs. Samoa managed to bat out their overs but could only manage 105-9 and lost by 77 runs.

Samoa were much better in their opening match of the day against Fiji, picking up an upset win against their more experienced opponents. Fiji scored 125-8 from their 20 overs, and Samoa originally looked to be cruising to a win when Geoff Clarke and Benjamin Mailata put on 79 for the second wicket. But a collapse saw them go from 89-1 to 96-6, Mailata the fifth of the flurry of wickets having scored 52. But the lower order held it together and Samoa scored the winning runs from the last balls of their innings to win by three wickets.

Fiji bounced back in the afternoon with a thumping win over Japan. They scored 160-2 from their 20 overs, Kitiano Tavo top scoring with an unbeaten 45, before they bowled tightly to restrict their opponents to 86-7, winning by 74 runs.

The tournament continues tomorrow with PNG playing Fiji and Japan and Vanuatu playing Samoa and Japan.