Papua New Guinea unbeaten after day two
Hosts Papua New Guinea were again the best team on day two of the EAP Division One Twenty20 tournament in Port Moresby, securing their semi-final place. Vanuatu also secured their semi-final place after a thrilling win over Samoa in the game of the day.
PNG opened with a game against their old rivals Fiji. Innings of 61 from Mahuru Dai and 40 from Asad Vala led to their score of 152-9 from their 20 overs, whilst Vilikesa Nailolo bowled well on international debut, taking 3-13 from his two overs. In reply, Iniasi Cakacaka was the only Fijian to get a start, scoring 38, whilst Jason Kila bowled superbly to take 4-17 with his left arm spin and bowl Fiji out for 108, PNG winning by 44 runs.
The hosts won again in the afternoon game against Japan, giving the Japanese a thumping. The PNG opening pair of Asad Vala and Tony Ura put on 119 before Ura was out for 53. Vala went on to score 116 from just 59 balls, in process becoming the first batsman to score a century on Port Moresby's new turf wickets, as PNG racked up 225-3 from their 20 overs. Japan didn't really make an attempt to chase that mammoth score, and batted out their overs to score 79-8 and lose by 146 runs.
Japan also lost in their morning game, scoring 109-7 after choosing to bat first, Naoki Miyaji top scoring with 25. The target was no problem for Vanuatu, and they scored their runs in 13.5 overs to win by six wickets despite a decent bowling spell from Masaomi Kobayashi, who took 3-27. Lazaro Carlot was their top scorer with 44.
The game of the day though was the match between Vanuatu and Samoa at Amini Park, with promoted side Samoa doing their best to pick up a second upset after defeating Fiji on the opening day.
Batting first after winning the toss, Vanuatu started badly, losing their first two wickets with just 25 on the board. But Andrew Mansale and Simpson Obed recovered things nicely with a 151 run partnership for the third wicket before Obed was out for 71. Skipper Mansale went on to post an unbeaten 85 and Vanuatu had scored 185-3 from their 20 overs.
In reply, Samoa were looking out of it in the tenth over when Pritchard Pritchard was third out with the score on 61-3. Benjamin Mailata and Murphy Su'a had other ideas though. Former New Zealand international Su'a hit 34 from 22 balls, with three sixes sailing onto the roof of the stands. Mailata stayed in, scoring an unbeaten 98 from just 51 balls, but it wasn't enough as Samoa fell just short, losing by 5 runs.
The final group games take place tomorrow morning, with Fiji playing Vanuatu and Japan playing Samoa. Japan have to win their game to have any chance of making the semi-finals, which will be played in the afternoon.