Playing in front of a home crowd at the newly renovated Sano International Cricket Ground, the young Japanese team delighted the spectators with big hitting en route to 252 from their allotted 50 overs
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Japan, as they slumped to 2/25 within 6 overs after tight bowling from the Samoan line-up.
However, Japan’s middle order dug deep with captain Marcus Thurgate (52 off 54) reaching his half century off as many balls, and Kazumasa Takahashi (68 off 92) showing his class with the bat.
In reply, Samoa were unable to find their groove, losing regular wickets on their way to 78 all out.
Following on from his form with the bat, Takahashi (4 for 14 off 7) was too strong for the Samoan line up and was aptly awarded the Player of the Match.
After the match, Takahashi remained focused on the bigger picture saying “we did lots of hard work behind the scenes, but it’s not finished yet, we want to keep working and hopefully lift a trophy at the end of the week.”
In the other day’s match, Papua New Guinea got their regional title defence off to a strong start with a 230 run win over Fiji.
PNG came into the Qualifier as clear favourites having previously won the regional qualifier seven times.
Being sent into bat played into PNG’s hands as the openers put on an opening stand of 76.
Herea Kilapat (57 off 62) made light work of the Fijian attack, scoring a half-century which included eight 4s and two 6s.
Lower down the order, Player of the Match Mavara Hekure (79 off 79) kept the strike ticking over, whilst punishing the bad balls as he lifted the team’s score past the 300 mark.
Fiji struggled against the class line-up of the PNG bowling attack and were only able to make 101 all out.
The PNG bowlers shared the wickets with Govea Airi (3 for 5 off 6), Sema Kamea (3 for 16 off 6), and Barnabas Maha (3 for 16 off 3.2) all taking 3 apiece.
The ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup East Asia-Pacific Qualifier 2019 is taking place in Sano, Japan from June 2 to 8 and features teams from Fiji, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu.
The top team will qualify for the 2020 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup to be held in South Africa in 17 January to 9 February 2020.
PNG 8/331 (50) Hekure 79*, Kilapat 57, Veiqaravi 3/54 (8) defeated Fiji 101 all out (34.2) Airi 3/5 (6), Kamea 3/16 (6), Maha 3/6 (3.2) by 230 runs
Japan 9/252 (50) Takahasi 68, Thurgate 52, Rarotoga 3/37 (8) defeated Samoa 78 all out (18.1) Takahashi 4/14 (7) by 174 runs