PNG score emphatic wins
Papua New Guinea demonstrated why they are the favourite for the East Asia-Pacific Trophy with crushing ten-wicket wins in both its Twenty20 matches on day one of the tournament in Apia, Samoa on Thursday.
Fielding a new look combination, PNG routed Japan for 20 in their morning match, needing just 2.5 overs to seal the win. They then skittled the Cook Islands for 42, requiring only 4.2 overs to finish the day unbeaten.
PNG fast bowler Willie Gavera capitalised on early wickets from captain Chris Amini to finish the Japan innings, collecting a haul of 4 for 3 from four overs. Japan allrounder, Cheema Razaq, who bats right-handed and bowls left-handed, was his team's top scorer with 7.
Fiji was the other unbeaten team, comfortably beating Vanuatu and Samoa. The bulk of the Vanuatu team had just come from the ICC Under 19 World Cup Qualifiers in Canada.
The match featured some fierce six-hitting, especially from Fiji's veteran opener Joji Bulabalavu, who smashed eight sixes and five fours.
Left-hand Vanuatu opener Damian Smith retaliated, bashing three sixes and five fours on his way to 56 before he was run-out. Fiji won by 43 runs.
Japan rebounded in their afternoon game to beat Tonga by 3 wickets.
Cook Islands 121-5 (20 overs) def. Indonesia 91 (19.2 overs) by 30 runs. Fiji 197-6 (20 overs) def. Vanuatu 154-9 (20 overs) by 43 runs. Japan 20 (17 overs) lost to PNG 22-0 (2.5 overs) by 10 wickets. Indonesia 88-9 (20 overs) lost to Samoa 90-5 (19.1 overs) by 5 wickets. Vanuatu 131 (19.5 overs) def. Indonesia 83-7 (20 overs) by 48 runs. Tonga 93-8 (20 overs) lost to Japan 94-7 (19.4 overs) by 3 wickets. Cook Islands 42 (12.5 overs) lost to Papua New Guinea 46-0 (4.2 overs) by 10 wickets. Samoa 116 (20 overs) lost to Fiji 117-6 (18.4 overs) by 4 wickets.
The draw for tomorrow, the last day of the Twenty20 event is: Friday, September 18 - (all Twenty20) - AM - Vanuatu v Samoa, PNG v Tonga, Japan v Cook Islands, Fiji v Indonesia; PM - Finals.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo