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PNG one win away from eighth U19 World Cup

PNG Garamuts sing their song following their fourth win.
The top team will qualify for the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup to be held in New Zealand in January 2018.

The Papua New Guinea Garamuts are just one win away from their eighth ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup after a 210-run win over Fiji at the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup Qualifier – East Asia-Pacific 2017.

It was the Garamut’s best performance of the tournament so far as both their batters and bowlers found top form in Apia.

A 53-run opening stand between Igo Mahuru (31 off 65 balls) and Simon Atai (23 off 40 balls) got PNG off to the perfect start after they chose to bat first.

However, the wickets did not provide any real relief for the Fijian bowlers as Heagi Toua (30 off 57 balls) and Ovia Lohia Sam (29 off 41 balls) came together for the second half century partnership of the innings.

Nou Reva Rarua’s unbeaten half-century was the icing on the cake with his 59 runs coming off just 47 balls including two huge sixes.

For Fiji, it was a tough day with the ball with Jone Valenikuila (3/51 off 10 overs) the only multiple wicket taker.

With 264 runs on the board it was then the PNG bowlers’ turn to do their job and they showed up with the same determination and ruthless execution as the batters.

James Junior Tau (1/10 off 4 overs) struck with just the second ball of the innings and it did not get any better from there for Fiji.

They were bowled out for just 54 in the 17th over, with player of the match Ovia Lohia Sam finishing with the extraordinary figures of four wickets for just two runs from 2.3 overs.

The dominant performance was exactly what PNG coach Kila Pala had been looking for from his players all week.

“We are really happy with how they have conducted themselves during the four days of the tournament,” he said.

Pala went on to acknowledge that while they are close, “it’s not over for us yet as we still have two more games to win.”

“The key is to go back to our routines in terms of what we have been doing right as individuals and as a team,” he concluded.

Yesterday’s home-town heroes Samoa were unable to back up their historic first win with a second one, as Vanuatu easily accounted for them by seven wickets.

The win ensures Vanuatu stay in contention for the one qualification spot on offer, although they need to win both their remaining matches and hope that PNG lose both of theirs.

In another good day for the bowlers, Vanuatu bowled Samoa out for just 53 runs with player of the match Obed Yosef (3/15 off 6 overs) proving too good with the ball for the second day in a row.

Vanuatu’s batters made short work of the chase, passing the target before lunch.

Junior Kaltapau (27* off 67 balls) was the only notable run scorer for Vanuatu.

Play resumes on Monday with an intriguing clash between Fiji and Vanuatu while PNG face Samoa.

The 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup – East Asia-Pacific Qualifier 2017 is taking place in Samoa from August 8th to 16th and will feature teams from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu.

The top team will qualify for the 2018 ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup to be held in New Zealand in January 2018.

Summary Scores
PNG 9/264 (50) Rarua 59*, Mahuru 31, Toua 30, Valenikuila 3/51 (10) defeated Fiji 54 (16.3) Cabebula 19, Sam 4/2 (2.3) Arua 2/23 (4) by 210 runs

Samoa 53 (20.3) Yosef 3/15 (6), Nalisa 2/4 (1.3), defeated by Vanuatu 3/54 (20.3) Kaltapau 27*, Falo 2/18 (10) by 7 wickets

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