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Samoa took control of the ICC EAP Trophy Non World Cricket League section after an excellent eight-wicket (D/L method) win over the Cook Islands on Monday.
The victory was Samoa's first over the Cook Islands and they now face a crucial match against Vanuatu if they are to top the group and improve their chances of making the Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 8.
Samoa were set up for their historic win by a near-faultless spell of medium pace bowling by Man of the Match Lautala Fuimoana, who bowled six maidens in his spell, as the Cook Islands were dismissed for 135.
"With figures of 2-wickets for 7 runs off ten overs, that's just phenomenal", said team mate, Dean Seuoti.
"It's great for local Samoan cricket to have a local player like Lautala achieve these bowling figures against the best cricketers in the Asia Pacific region. It just shows that the talent is here and we just need more tournaments and events to showcase and allow younger players to come on board."
Samoa then knocked off its reduced target, as a result of rain, with Mailata (40 not out), Turner (23) and captain Clarke (23 not out) all making important contributions.
"They have been our bogey team,” said Clarke. "But now that we've done it, and in style it's a nice feeling as it sets us nicely for the crucial game against Vanuatu tomorrow."
Vanuatu played Indonesia in the other Non World Cricket League match and although Vanuatu are yet to fire they easily accounted for the Indonesians with a nine-wicket victory to secure their first points after a bye in the first round.
Indonesia were dismissed for 145 in the 49th over with Vanuatu's off spinner Simpson Obed claiming 5 for 20.
In reply, Indonesia's only wicket came from a brilliant leg-side stumping when keeper Thenuwara reacted quickly to dislodge the bails and send Lenika Natapei on his way for 39.
Vanuatu's opener Damien Smith scored a half-century and batted well throughout the rain delays to chase the Indonesian total down.
Still rueing a lost opportunity to defeat Papua New Guinea on Saturday, the Fijians were ready to impress when they took on Japan. Fiji started well; openers Baba and Bulabalavu were involved in an opening stand of 84 before Japan steadied the ship with some excellent fielding to create two run-outs added to some tight bowling from Rizwan who took 4 wickets to dismiss Fiji in the 50th over for 238.
Baba backed up his impressive ton earlier in the week to score an impressive 63 before playing across the line and being bowled by Rizwan. Baba, who was Man of the Match, made 63, includeding seven boundaries and two towering pull shots for six.
With the possibility of rain Fiji attacked early and managed to capture some key top-order batsmen. Browne took two wickets including the Japanese captain and Kobyashi before the legspinner Yabaki claimed two 2 for12 off four overs.
Indonesia 145 (48.4 overs) (P Chaturvdi 34; S Obed 5-20)lost to
Vanuatu 131-1 (20 overs) (D Smith 50, L Natapei 35)
by nine wickets
Fiji 238 (50 overs) (J Baba 63, J Bulabalavu 35, K.Jikoivanualevu 34; M Rizwan 4-49)def
Japan 86-8 (30 overs) (M Rizwan 24; G Browne 2-11, S Lomani 2-12, V Yabaki 2-12)
by 95 runs (D/L method - Japan set target of 181 in 30 overs)
Cook Islands 135 (47.4 overs) (D Teinaki 26, M Marurai 17, T Taivau 16; L Fuimoana 2-7, S Tua 2-18, W Mariner 2-26)lost to
Samoa 98-2 (23 overs) (F Mailata 40*, R Turner 23, G Clarke 22*)
by eight wickets
Siddhartha Talya is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Siddhartha Talya
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