Thursday 29 September 2005
JAPAN CLAIM TITLE IN A FITTING EAP CUP FINALE
Japan have claimed their first ICC cricket title with a thrilling six run
victory at Club Hippique in the final of the East Asia - Pacific (EAP)
Cricket Cup Tournament in Port Vila, Vanuatu.
The Cooks won the toss and sent Japan into bat on another misty day
at Club Hippique. Hirokazu Takahashi and Tetsuro Chino started cautiously
against the might of Dunu Eliaba (2/19 off 9 overs) and Chris Brown (2/19
off 8.2 overs). Takahashi was the first out LBW to Brown for 9.
Jummei Hanada (0) and final round hero Sriram Sampath (10) came and went
quickly and Japan was reduced to 3/38 in the 15th over.
Masaomi Kobayashi (16), Tetsuo Fuji (3) and Patrick Giles-Jones (7)
all got started without taking control but wicketkeeper and opener Tetsuro
Chino batted responsibly and patiently to record 51 off 120 balls.
After Chino was the 7th wicket to fall Naoki Miyaji ensured the 150 was
surpassed with a brisk 13 before Japan were dismissed in the 48th over
for 161. Wicketkeeper
Ioane Tangimetua was a star for the Cooks with 5 catches behind the
The fired up Japanese took the field after lunch and had an immediate
impact with speedster Patrick Giles-Jones clean bowling Tereapii Mamanu
with the fourth ball of the innings. Giles-Jones snared another two
wickets in his opening spell, including that of key batter Dunu Eliaba
(10), to finish with the impressive figures of 3/31 off 10 overs.
At 4/45 in the 13th over, the Cooks were in real strife.
As has been the case throughout the tournament, Player Of The Series
Chris Brown steadied the ship and shared in a 56 run partnership with Tuakana
Marukore to swing the game back in the favour of the Islanders. Legspinner
Kenji Murata was introduced in the 31st over and in the 35th over made
himself a hero holding onto a sharp caught and bowled chance to remove
Brown for a mature 45. The Cooks were now 5/106 and the game was
Marukore was now carrying the load and took the responsibility to keep
his country in the game. His gutsy knock of 55 was ended after the
re-introduction of opening bowler Naoki Miyaji who trapped him LBW with
the score on 153. The Cooks now needed 8 to win with only 2 wickets
The tension and nervousness at Club Hippique could be felt and coaches
and players from both teams walked laps of the ground to try and keep their
nerves under control. The 9th wicket fell clean bowled to Miyaji
shortly afterwards and the last pair needed to score the remaining 7 runs
for victory. Miyaji had other ideas and in his very next over he
speared one at the hip of Moumou Marurai who gloved it down the leg side
for wicketkeeperChino to dive athletically to his left and complete the
Once the umpire's finger was raised the Japanese players broke into
spontaneous jubilation as they all rushed Chino to congratulate him for
his super catch. The enthusiastic Japanese band of supporters watching
from thesidelines also erupted with joy and danced in unison in support
of their countrymen.
In all, it was a fitting cliffhanger to a week of tense, exciting and
dramatic cricket at the first international cricket event ever held in
In the playoff games, a committed Vanuatu claimed 3rd spot with a 6
wicket win against a deflated Tonga at KaZaa Field. Tonga, struggling
to get themselves up after yesterday's disappointment of missing the final,
were rolled for 105 with Vanuatu spin twins Andrew Mansale (2/22 off 10
overs) and Andrew Gardiner (3/26 off 5 overs) doing the damage. Gardiner,
who turned 16 two weeks ago, made an auspicious international debut claiming
three wickets in his first over. Simione Latu was the only Tongan
to offerany resistance with 28 off 23 balls.
Vanuatu knocked off the required runs for the loss of 4 wickets in
34 overs with Mansale completing his man of the match performance with
46no. Viliami Tupouniua toiled hard for Tonga with 3/23 off 10 overs.
Indonesia made light work of Samoa at Independence Park in the 5th and
6th place playoff dismissing the Polynesians for 71 and passing their score
in only 23 overs. Fuimaono Konelio again top scored for Samoa with
45 and Wayan Suandi (4/25) and John Stevenson (4/17) did the damage with
the ball. John Stevenson completed a good personal day for Indonesia with
21 in their
By finishing first and second, both Japan and Cooks Islands have qualified
for the EAP Cricket Trophy to be played in mid-2006. The EAP Cricket
Trophy tournament will involve Japan, Cook Islands and Fiji in a three
way battleto claim a place in the World Cricket League in early 2007.
Full results from the EAP Cricket Cup can be found at http://www.icc-eap-cricket.com
by following the EAP Cricket Cup link.
Final EAP Cricket Cup Ladder
2. Cook Islands
Russell James - Tournament Director - EAP Cricket Cup
Martin Gleeson - EAP Development Officer