by Tere Alex – EM TV, Port Moresby
Eight nations converged on Lismore, New South Wales for the 2014 Pepsi OCC East Asia-Pacific men’s trophy.
Our Barramundis went in as favourites after winning the previous two EAP trophies. The boys are up for a third title and have set their eyes on the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 in India. After finishing second and third respectively at the previous two tournaments, both Vanuatu and Fiji are keen to leave no stone unturned in their quest to topple the Barras.
After the completion of the T20 event, the top four teams, excluding Vanuatu and PNG who already have a place in world cricket league, will compete in a 50 over competition for one spot available in the World Cricket League, division 6.
Whist committed to a strong showing in the T20, Samoa and the Philippines already have one eye on the 50 over competition. Japan looked sharp in the field in their warm up matches and is confident in causing more than a few issues for some of their more fancied opponents.
Despite filling the bottom two places on the 2013 standings, both Indonesia and the Cook Islands have very definite ideas about their expectations in Lismore.
Meanwhile, the Barras edged out the Cook Islands in an easy eight-wicket victory win this morning. The Cook Islands won the toss and were first on the bat. They got off to a good start, recording 1 for 40 runs in 8 overs, but were dismissed for 117 runs in their final over.
In reply, the Barras, through Lega Siaka, scored an incredible 88 off just 29 balls to cruise home a victory, hitting the winning runs in the 9th over.
In an earlier match, Vanuatu sailed home winners with six wickets against the Philippines. Samoa won by 20 runs over Japan, while Fiji posted 88 runs over Indonesia, concluding the day.
The Barras will take on Fiji tomorrow.