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The third round of the ICC EAP Cricket Trophy threw the tournament wide open with Japan now the only undefeated team, while Vanuatu made it two wins in two.
Japan were given a fright, though, by Samoa before shooting to the top of the table with a 33-run win. Courtney Jones (72) and Munir Ahmad (64) led a middle-order recovery to bring Japan back from a precarious 3 for 16 after 7. Faave Faaofo (3 for 43 off 10 overs) and Konelio Faillagi (2 for 22) did the damage for Samoa at the top of the innings, however Japan managed to scrap their way to the competitive total of 9 for 220.
Samoa’s innings started in a similar fashion, with four early wickets. Captain Geoff Clarke (18) and Sipiliano Tua (92) built a solid partnership in the middle of the innings that gave Samoa a chance. Naoki Miyaji (5 for 32) had other ideas, however as he tore through Samoa’s tail to lead Japan to their third consecutive win.
Vanuatu beat Cook Islands in a tense, low-scoring affair. Cook Islands bowled first on a pitch that offered the pacemen some assistance. The in-form Andrew Mansale started positively with 31, however Richard Tatwin proved the mainstay in Vanuatu’s 167 with 51. Tino Etita was the chief destroyer with 5 for 16. Vanuatu skipper Patrick Haines (4 for 27) lead from the front with an aggressive opening spell that wrestled back the momentum. Joseph Joe (34) and Chris Brown (24) offered some resistance before Pierre Chilia (3 for 22) returned to claim the final wicket and leave the Cook Islands 44 runs shy of the required target.
Tonga trumped Indonesia in the highest scoring match of the tournament to date. Livi’aetau Pese (69) and Ivan Ta’akimoeaka (38) got Tonga off to a flying start after they chose to bat. Solid contributions from the rest boosted them to 262. Courtenay Werleman and Simon Turnbull both took three wickets. Werleman (44) and Pratyush Chaturvedi (75) took Indonesia within striking distance before pulling up 20 short after three run-outs and Mafi Langi’s 5 for 65.
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