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Fiji cricketers stun Papua New Guinea

Wednesday 25 February 2015 | Published in Regional


BLENHEIM – Fiji are in the box seat to qualify for the Under 19 Cricket World Cup after a stunning upset victory over Papua New Guinea at the East Asia-Pacific Trophy in New Zealand on Tuesday.

It’s the first time PNG have lost to a regional rival in the U19 format, and the first time a Fijian team has beaten PNG in cricket since 2001.

After electing to bat first, the PNG Garamuts were in trouble early at 33-3 after a blistering opening spell from Sosiceni Weleilakeba.

Sere Sam steadied proceedings but his dismissal for 49 started a trend as PNG were all out for just 133 in the 37th over.

Fiji’s run-chase did not start well as they slumped to 25 for 3 off 11 overs, but the lunch break had the desired effect as Peni Volavola smashed a quick-fire 73 off 84 balls to guide the Baby Blues home with five wickets and 18 overs to spare.

Fiji coach Shane Jugensen says to watch his team play like that gives him a lot of pride, but says they need to remain focused for their final two matches against Vanuatu and Samoa.

Vanuatu also made a winning start, edging Samoa by 15 runs on day one.

Maxim Stephen top-scored with 36 and Asuasu Nofo nabbed three wickets as the Melanesians managed just 140 batting first.

But Pradonly Tari ripped through the Samoan top order to set up Vanuatu’s victory, snaring 4 wickets as the Polynesians slumped to 25 for 5, before being dismissed for 125.

Fiji will meet Vanuatu in a top of the table clash on Wednesday, with PNG looking to get back on track against Samoa.

The overall winner will earn direct entry into the 2016 World Cup in Bangladesh, with the runner-up to advance to a final qualifying tournament later this year.