Tony Munro
East Asia-Pacific (EAP) has won its first game of this year's Australian Country Championships, beating South Australia by 66 runs in Albury on Monday.
A combination of another good bowling display and a crucial 86-run partnership between Chris Amini and Assad Vala gave the combined team a lift, three games into its campaign.
Defending 186, EAP had South Australia in early trouble at 3-46 before Andrew Mansale (3-21) and Loa Nou (3-22) ripped through the middle order to prevent any chance of a recovery.
Amini (51) and Vala (50) earlier combined to rescue EAP from a disastrous 3-38 after Masaomi Kobayashi, Vani Vagi Morea and Mansale fell cheaply. The Papua New Guineans combined to lift EAP to 4 for 124. Vanuatu all-rounder Patrick Matautau again proved his worth with a valuable cameo of 32 as EAP reached 187 from 44.5 overs. Amini, Vala and Matautau were the only batsmen to reach double-figures. The composite side's next match is against New South Wales on Tuesday before it has a rest day.
The surprise element of the tournament has been provided by first-timers, Northern Territory, who have won all three games to lead the tables. EAP stands sixth out of eight contenders.
50-overs match:
East Asia-Pacific 187 (44.5 overs) (C.Amini 51, A.Vala 50, P.Matautaua 32) beat South Australian Country 121 (38 overs) (A.Mansale 3-21, L.Nou 3-22, S Lomani 1-25, W Gavera 1-21) by 66 runs.
Points: EAP 7, South Australia 0

Nitin Sundar is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo