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One run heartbreak, nine wicket breeze: Cook Islands kick off Pacific Cup in style

Wednesday 17 January 2024 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Cricket, Sports

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One run heartbreak, nine wicket breeze: Cook Islands kick off Pacific Cup in style
Cook Islands players celebrate after picking a wicket against Samoa in the 2024 Women’s T20I Pacific Cup match yesterday. PHOTOSPORT/24011620

Cook Islands made a solid start to their 2024 Women’s T20I Pacific Cup campaign with a one-run loss and a nine-wicket win on the opening day of the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.

The national side faced a higher-ranked Samoa in their opening match and went down fighting by a single run in the final over.

Cook Islands won the toss and chose to bowl first, restricting Samoa to 109/9 in their 20 overs.

Sofia Samuels, who bowled four overs, picked up three wickets for just 19 runs, while captain Tetiare Mataora managed two wickets.

In reply, Cook Islands made a slow start, losing their first wicket for just 8 runs. However, they regrouped with opener Zamera Ikiua, who top-scored with 43 not out, leading the charge.

The side battled bravely until the final ball, needing four runs to win but only managing two.

In their second match, Cook Islands dominated Fiji, winning by a decisive nine wickets.

Again, the national team won the toss and elected to bowl. Cook Islands put on a strong bowling and fielding display, restricting Fiji to a meagre 69 all out in just 13.6 overs. Samuels, Esther Williams, MR Vila and Ikiua each grabbed two wickets in the opening innings.

In reply, Cook Islands cruised to victory, reaching the target in just 8.2 overs with the loss of only one wicket.

Ikiua once again led the charge, top-scoring with 41 not out, followed by RV Auora who managed 16 runs not out.

The national side led by captain Tetiare Mataora includes Mummy Elikana, Ioane Evangelean, Zamera Ikiua, Koitai Mataora, Tailor Miaka, Maya Piakura, Tapuaiva Piakura, Angite Ruarau, Sofia Samuels, Sonnia Vaia and Esther Williams.

The tournament features four other East Asia Pacific nations, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Vanuatu, and the Aotearoa Māori select team. The T20 games against the EAP nations will offer ranking points, while matches against the Aotearoa Māori team, featuring NZ domestic and White Ferns players, will be friendly exhibitions.

At the end of round two yesterday, Aotearoa Māori are the only unbeaten side - securing an early win over Papua New Guinea and a narrow victory over Vanuatu. Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu all claiming one victory apiece.

Cook Islands will face Papua New Guinea today followed by Aotearoa Māori tomorrow and Vanuatu on Friday.

The finals will be held on Saturday.