Japan and Belgium set markers with big wins over Suriname and Bhutan.
Japan have started well at Division 8 of the World Cricket League in Samoa with a big win over Suriname.
The side, relegated from Division 7 last year, are one of the favourites for the tournament, and their opening partnership of Jarrad Shearer and Naoki Miyaji put on 105 after Suriname won the toss and elected to field. Miyaji was out in the 31st over having scored 46, whilst Shearer scored 59 before he was dismissed in the 35th over.
Hanif Khan hit a quickfire 41 from 25 balls to help take the Japanese total to 229-8 from their 50 overs. Vishaul Singh was the pick of the Suriname bowlers with 4-50.
Singh then top scored for Suriname with 35, but the rest of the batting order struggled against the Japanese bowlers. Satoshi Nakano took 5-27, whilst Daniel Mee, making his debut, took 4-17 as Suriname were bowled out for 87, losing by 142 runs.
In the same group, Belgium also recorded a comprehensive victory over Bhutan. Bhutan chose to bat after winning the toss, and they were bundled out for just 79, losing their last five wickets for just seven runs. Shahid Muhammad took 3-16 and Aamir Iqbal took 3 wickets for just four runs in six overs.
Belgium had no trouble chasing down their target, and they reached it for the loss of one wicket in the 26th over, Nirvam Shah top scoring with an unbeaten 34.
In the other group, Vanuatu batted first after winning the toss against Norway. Lenica Natapei led the way for them with 60 from 61 balls as his team were bowled out for 173, Shahbaz Butt the pick of the bowlers with 4-27.
Patrick Matautaava then sliced through the Norwegian batting line-up, taking 6-10 as they were bowled out for 95, losing by 78 runs.
The other match in Group A saw hosts Samoa fail to make it a hat-trick of wins for the East Asia Pacific sides when they went down to Ghana by 50 runs. Francis Bakiweyem top scored for Ghana with 52 as they scored 206, and Samoan captain Benjamin Mailata's 61 was enough as they were bowled out for 156.
Tomorrow is a rest day in Samoa, and the tournament will resume on Monday when Samoa play Norway and Ghana play Vanuatu in Group A. Group B matches will see Belgium play Suriname and Japan play Bhutan.