Geckos claim second straight U17 EAP title in Fiji

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday 29th August, 2012

THE PNG Geckos made it back-to-back wins at the Pepsi ICC East Asia-Pacific Under 17 Championship with a comprehensive 72-run victory against Vanuatu at Central College in Lautoka, Fiji.
The win which was set up by a blistering half century from Hiri Patana, putingPNG a game clear on top of the table with every team now having played each other once.
“The ball was swinging around a lot today so it was hard to play my strokes early,” said Patana.
“But to score a half century in my second match for PNG is a great moment for me.”
PNG won the toss and elected to bat on another beautiful day for cricket in Lautoka.  Despite some tight bowling in the first four overs from Vanuatu opening strike pair Nalin Nipiko and Apolinair Stephen, their side were not able to capitilise by taking enough early wickets to put PNG on the back foot.
Once Nipiko and Apolinair were removed from the attack, PNG took full advantage and lifted their run rate well above a run a ball thanks to some huge hitting from Hiri Hiri Patana.
Patana dominated the innings, scoring a magnificent 53 off 38 deliveries that included eleven 4s and one massive 6.
Patana’s 63-run partnership with Allan Joseph helped set up the intimidating total of 5-143 which was always going to be a difficult task for the inexperienced Vanuatu side to overhaul.
Despite the large total, Vanuatu showed little fear early in their chase and played a far more composed brand of cricket than yesterday’s match against Fiji which the Geckos easily won.
After a steady start captain Nipiko took it upon himself to take on the imposing PNG pace attack of Riley Hekure and Nosaina Pokana and found the boundary at regular intervals.
However once Nipiko was trapped LBW off the bowling of Sekavai Gebai for 21 PNG once again took full control and Vanuatu collaspsed to be all out for 71.
For PNG the best of the bowlers was Allan Lawes with 2-11 wickets while Ruma Igua backed up his strong performance from yesterday with another two wickets.
This afternoons match sees Fiji take on PNG at 2:00pm local time.