THE PNG Barramundis have retained their No. 1 East Asia Pacific ranking by dominating the International Cricket Council East Asia Championship in Samoa.
The senior PNG cricketers swept all before them and maintained a perfect record of eight wins from eight matches.
In the final World Cricket League competition match last Friday, PNG won the toss and elected to bat, with openers Kwapena Arua (72) and Vani Vagi Morea (42) setting up a great platform.
The pair batted superbly against a tight Fijian attack and moved to 0/121 from just 16 overs before a mini collapse reduced the Barramundis to four for 136.
Kila Pala (32) and captain Chris Amini (27) batted patiently in the middle order to steer PNG to a respectable eight for 247 at the close of innings.
Josefa Dabea was the best of the Fijians, bagging three wickets for 37 runs from nine overs.
Fiji began the chase positively, with Josefa Baba and Joji Bulabalavu providing a solid foundation, managing 39 runs before a devastating spell of fast bowling from Willie Gavera (4/37) sparked a major collapse of four for none that crushed any chance of a Fiji victory.
Lower order batsmen Dabea and Iniasi Cakacaka fought on valiantly but the relentless PNG attack
eventually won out again, dismissing Fiji for 129 with two wickets apiece to Pipi Raho, Loa Nou and Mahuta Kivung.
A good wicket and weather in Apia set the stage for the 112 best cricketers from eight countries in the East Asia Pacific region to showcase why more than three billion people around the world play and watch cricket each year and why cricket is fast becoming PNG’s most successful national sport.Over the past eight days, the ICC’s biggest Pacific tournament took place at Samoa’s Garden Ovals. It was here that the top 12 cricketers were selected in the EAP All Stars teams.
PNG dominated all of the awards and the composition of the East Asia Pacific All Stars teams.
The awardees of the ICC EAP awards and trophies are as follows:
Winner ICC EAP Twenty/20 Trophy: Papua New Guinea
Winner World Cricket League 50-over Champions: Papua New Guinea
Non-World Cricket League winners: Vanuatu
Twenty/20 player of the tournament: Chris Amini (PNG)
World Cricket League player of tournament: Vani Vagi Morea (PNG)
ICC EAP Twenty/20 All Stars team: Davies Teinake (CKI), Willie Gavera (PNG), Pipi Raho (PNG), Josefa Baba (FIJ), Assad Vala (PNG), Uala Kaisala (SAM), Chris Amini (PNG/capt), Edy Mansale (VAN), Sione Holi (TON), Iniasi Cakacaka (FIJ), Faasao Mulivai (SAM) and Damian Smith (VAN).
ICC EAP ODI All Stars team: Vani Vagi Morea (PNG), Tatsuro Chino (JPN), Kila Pala (PNG), Faafetai ‘Ben’ Mailata (SAM), Loa Nou (PNG), Josefa Baba (FIJ), Tino Etita (CKI), Jonathan Dunn (VAN), Simpson Obed (VAN), Andrew Mansale (VAN/Cap), Sakaraia Lomani (FIJ), Lautala Fuimoana (SAM)