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Vanuatu completed an unbeaten World Cricket League Division 8 tournament with victory in the final against Ghana at Garden Ovals in Samoa. Promotion for both teams to Division 7 had already been secured by finishing as the top two sides in the group stage, but this result gave Vanuatu the silverware to go with their earlier efforts.
It was a competitive match, but Vanuatu were always just ahead of the game having recovered from a difficult start when they slipped to 7 for 2 after decided to bat first. Jonathon Dunn led the recovery with 78 off 139 balls, adding 108 for the fourth wicket with Nalin Nipiko who made a brisk 59 off 63 deliveries including three sixes.
At 181 for 3 after 43 overs Vanuatu will have had designs on something closer 250, but Ghana fought back during the closing overs with Issac Aboagye finishing with 4 for 39. However, in a tournament where totals in excess of 200 have been rare it was a testing target for Ghana to chase.
They made a promising start reaching fifty in the 10th over as Obed Harvey put bat to ball effectively but Vanuatu then started to strangle the scoring rate. The third wicket stand of 24 between James Vifah and Samson Awiah took 12 overs to compile – including nine overs from the spin combination of Andrew Mansale and Jelany Chilia that cost just eight runs – and the pressure started to show as Ghana fell to 92 for 5 in the 29th over despite three missed chances in the field.
Aboagye briefly cut loose with a brace of sixes to keep the run rate within sight, but the return of Patrick Matautaava paid off when he claimed an lbw and the chase subsided. Simpson Obed finished with 3 for 17 from four overs, but it was Dunn who took the Man-of-the-Match award.
“I can’t express how I feel right now with what the boys did out there,” said Mansale. “We are all just so happy and can’t wait to get back to Vanuatu to party.”
Elsewhere on the final day of competition three other matches took place to decide the final finishing positions. Japan secured third place with a 10-run victory against Belgium as Alexander Patmore hit 101 out of Japan’s total of 180 then Makoto Taniyama took 5 for 55. Norway cruised past Samoa by 134 runs in the fifth-place play-off and Suriname avoided the wooden spoon a thrilling three-run win against Bhutan.
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