PNG belt Fiji in first round of qualifier


PAPUA New Guinea avenged their shock loss to Fiji in the same event two years ago, with a strong four-wicket win on the opening day of the 2018 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup – East Asia-Pacific Qualifier 2017 in Samoa.
Under overcast skies in Apia, the Garamuts won the toss and sent Fiji in hoping to take advantage of the prime bowling conditions.
The decision immediately paid off with left-arm paceman James Junior Tau (2-9 off 6.1 overs) swinging the ball both ways before striking in his second over.
He was supported by PNG’s other left-armer Sema Igo Kamea (0-17 off 8 overs) who was unlucky not to take a wicket despite appearing to be too quick for the Fijian batsmen.
Fiji tried to settle but off-spinner and player of the match Boge Daniel Arua (4-21) ripped through the lower half of the Fijian batting order as PNG bowled Fiji out for just 88 runs in the 37th over.
Fiji were up and about in the field and appeared to be on top as their opening bowlers ripped through the PNG order to leave them struggling at 3 for 18 in the sixth over.
However, Heagi Ronald Toua (27 off 28 balls) and captain Vagi Karaho (15 off 30 balls) had other plans as they put on 45 for the fourth wicket and took the game away from Fiji.
A few late wickets gave Fiji some hope as opener Petero Cabebula (4-28 off 7 overs) finished four wickets but in the end it was too little too late with PNG passing the total in the 26th over.