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Japan show fight, but succumb to powerful Fiji
By Russel james

See Scoresheet>>
Round 3 of the ICC EAP Cricket Challenge saw hosts Japan 
fight strongly, but eventually lose to a powerful Fiji unit by 5 wickets.

Despite this defeat, the Japan team played arguably their 
best match of the event, and gave tournament favorites Fiji several frights during a low scoring encounter.

After winning their third straight toss, Fiji sent Japan into bat 
and tasted early success removing openers Hirokasu Takahashi 
and Munir Ahmed within the first six overs.  A 41 run partnership between Mohammed Rizwan (20) and Jummei Hanada (17) saw the score reach 53 for 2 after 15 overs.

Wickets fell steadily however through out the middle order with Vuiyasawa, Kamikaca and Maxwell all claiming two wickets.  
Alam was the mainstay of the Japan bottom order and his 40 runs 
assisted Japan reach 135 after 47 overs.

Fijiís reply started poorly losing Iliesa Navatu in the second over for 5, before debutant Sekove Ravoka (24) combined with Colin Rika (16) for a 53 run partnership.

Japanese leg spinner Munir Ahmed joined the attack in the 18th over and proceeded to bowl Japan into a winning position by picking up three wickets in seven balls.  At the end of the 23rd over Fiji were reeling at 5 for 87, requiring a further 50 runs for victory.

At this time the experience of Neil Maxwell (24 not out) came to the fore to assist Fiji to victory through an unbeaten partnership with Maika Kamikamica (26 not out).

Fijiís Vuetasau Vuiyasawa was named man of the match with figures of 10 overs, 2 for 22.

After the game Fiji captain Waisake Tukana said,

ďThis was another solid performance from our players, 
although Japan played very well and gave us a bit of a scare. 
We are all now looking forward to a day off to recharge the batteries, and then canít wait for the final on Saturday.Ē

Fiji now play Tonga in the final of the ICC EAP Cricket Challenge 
on Saturday, with the winner of this match qualifying for the ICCís 
World Cup Qualifying Series Divisional tournament in Malaysia.  
Japan play Indonesia, in a reply of their tightly contested 1st round clash.

Full details http://uk.cricinfo.com/link_to_database/NATIONAL/ICC/



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