Port Vila [Vanuatu], September 3 (ANI): The first two days of the East Asia Pacific Qualifier for ICC Women's T20 World Cup 2024 in Vanuatu has already seen a full tournament's worth of drama.
While Indonesia has been forced to watch the tournament from the outside due to unforeseen circumstances, action on the field has also made headlines, with Vanuatu turning the tournament upside-down on day one with a win over favourites Papua New Guinea.
With a spot at next year's Women's T20 World Cup Global Qualifier up for grabs, there is much at stake for the seven teams turning out in Port Vila.
-Vanuatu topple hot favourites PNG in 11-year first, Japan start with two winsTaking no notice of holding a women's T20I ranking 26 spots below their opponents, Vanuatu closed out victory over the Lewas in a professional performance, and are now in the driver's seat to take Qualifier honours.
Despite opting to bat, Papua New Guinea's top order was kept quiet, losing both openers for under double figures, and with star number three Tanya Ruma stifled in a 45-ball knock of 28.
Selina Solman's 2/19 led the way for Vanuatu with the ball, and she backed her own efforts with a calm 38 to ensure a five-wicket win to send shock waves through the Pacific.
Japan meanwhile have been comfortable winners in both matches of their campaign, and to this point look to be the hosts' biggest threat in claiming the solitary Global Qualifier spot.
Mai Yanagida's side comfortably defended 125 against the Cook Islands on day one, before a 48-run win over Samoa to start two from two.
Opener Erika Oda has led the way with the bat, making 48 (44) and 46 (28) in the two matches thus far, backed up by a strong collective bowling effort from the five-pronged attack. Erika Toguchi-Quinn's leg-spin will likely prove to be a constant threat, with her 2/23 against Samoa a particular show of control.
-Indonesia show incredible resilience before taking the field Indonesia is yet to bowl a ball two days into the tournament, though their spirit and competitive virtues have already been shown on the way to Vanuatu.
Cancellations for a connecting flight in Melbourne curtailed their journey to Port Vila, and the side was forced to stay in the Australian city for almost two days before a trip was confirmed on early Saturday morning, arriving in the country early on matchday two.
The snag forced a change in the tournament schedule, and to make up their fixtures, the side has now agreed to play six matches across four matchdays, including two doubleheaders.
With Indonesia now settled in Vanuatu, ICC East Asia-Pacific Regional Development Manager Rob Gomm praised the side's patience and commitment ahead of their campaign.
"The whole tournament is thrilled to have Indonesia in Vanuatu and that we can still fit all their matches in," said Gomm as quoted by ICC.
"It speaks to the resilience of Associate cricket where a team can spend almost four days in transit and still want to play six matches across four match days," he added.
Indonesia take on the Cook Islands in their first match on Monday afternoon, before matches against Fiji and Samoa in Tuesday action.
-Faimalo debut five-for turns headsNineteen-year-old Teinemane Faimalo had an international debut to remember, becoming the first women's bowler to take a T20I five-wicket haul for Samoa on day one of the tournament.
The right-arm finished with 5/8 off three overs, hitting the stumps for all five dismissals and forcing a Fijian collapse from 86/1 to 98/7.
The sixth bowler deployed by captain Taofi Lafai, Faimalo broke a 67-run partnership by removing the dangerous Ruci Muriyalo (29), before beating Fiji captain Ilisapeci Waqavakatoga (43) soon after. Ateca Kainoco (1), Ana Gonerara (0) and Karalaini Vakuruivalu (0) also had no answer for the seamer.
It consigned Fiji to just 98/7 from their 20 overs, though Samoa fell short in their reply, bowled out for 80. (ANI)