PNG win Pepsi ICC EAP Women's Trophy final in a nail biting finish.

Sun, May 11, 2014 8:45 AM

PNG win Pepsi ICC EAP Women's Trophy final in a nail biting finish.
Samoa exhibits their dominance in a comfortable win over the Cook Island for third.

PNG has won the 2014 Pepsi ICC EAP Women's Trophy in dramatic fashio against hosts Japan. In a thrilling final day's play PNG over threw reigning champion Japan to gain back the EAP regions number one ranking. Earlier in the day it was an effortless win for Samoa as they triumphed over the Cook Islands in the tournaments 3rd place play-off.

With Japan having beaten PNG in round-robin play the day before, it was expected that the number one ranked EAP side would continue in the same vein to win their third straight EAP trophy title.

Winning the toss and electing to bat first PNG got off to a tense start. Perhaps it was finals nerves but PNG openers regularly played and missed at the top of the innings. Credit should also go to Japan's opening bowling pair of Kurumi Ota and Ayako Nakayama who kept things tight and were rewarded, having PNG one wicket down in the third over for just 7 runs.

However as PNG settled, they started to find the middle of the bat. The powerhouse pair of Mebo Ipi and Tanya Ruma started taking to Japan's spinners, putting on 22 runs before Ipi sliced one straight to point, and was caught out for 18 runs.

At the halfway mark of the first innings PNG were fighting back, on 44-2 the number three and four bats Ruma and Pipi Siaka seemed in command and looked like putting on a huge partnership.

In the end the duo put on 39 runs for the 3rd wicket, before Japan's Shizuka Kubota made the breakthrough for her team, having the dangerous Siaka caught behind for 18 runs. Both teams were now evenly poised, with the score at 69-3 with six overs remaining.

Neither team looked on top as the first innings drew to a close, but with wickets in hand PNG had the platform to launch. And accelerate they did, as Ruma and Varoi Moreo increased the run rate. The pair took 21 runs off the final two overs to give their team something to defend, ending their innings on 113-3.

It was a terror start for defending champions Japan, PNG opening bowler Veru Frank ripped through Japan's top order, taking 3 wickets in her first over of the match. At the end of the second over Japan were 3 down for just 8 runs.

Japan's only reprieve was that their stalwart opening batswoman Ema Kuribayashi was still out in the middle. It took a good throw in to the keeper from PNG's Kila Leke to see Kuribayashi caught short of her ground and run out. When incoming batswoman Ota was bowled out on the next ball, Japan were in real trouble at 25-5 in just the 5th over of the innings. A win from here looked unlikely for the hosts.

With PNG's energy lifting, Japan's two new batswomen Shizuka Kubota and Miho Kanno looked tentative at the crease. The pair settled however, and consolidated for team Japan. The partnership between the two was worth 56 runs, Japan now at 80-5 after 13 overs they were back in the game.

But after a fall of wickets in quick succession, PNG fought back with six overs to go. Kubota was the first of Japan's batswomen to go, caught behind off the bowling of Ruma. A ball later Etsuko Kobayashi was run out for none, followed soon after was Japan's number 9 batswomen Ayako Nakayama, trapped leg before wicket. Japan was on the back foot again, left reeling at 93-9.

Japan was still in the hunt however needing just 11 runs off the final 12 balls of the match to win. Unfortunately for the hosts and two time champions, it wasn't to be as Yamaguchi hit the ball straight to midwicket, Kanno was backing up too far and a direct hit from Ruma saw her run out at the non-strikers end.

Japans strong hold over the EAP region had ended, bowled out by PNG for 102 runs in the 19th over. PNG had achieved their pre-tournament objective to win back the EAP trophy and had regained their number one ranking in the EAP region.

As finals day dawned on Sano Japan, it was Samoa first up against the Cook Islands at the Tanuma high school ground.

Samoa set the Cook Islands a massive first innings score 198. The Cook Islands never looked in the hunt as the run rate climbed with each passing over, eventually sky rocking to over 17 RPO required at the half way mark.

Staring for team Samoa was Moelagi Tuilagi setting a new EAP trophy record of 104 runs. Equally successful, Samoas Matile Uliao produced bowling figures of 4-15.

PNG will now participate in the ICC Women's World Twenty20 Qualifier next year.

Scores in Brief

At Tanuma HS: Final
Japan v PNG

PNG 113-3, 20 overs (T Ruma 47*, V Morea 22*; M Yanagida 1-22)
Japan 102 - 10, 20 overs (M Kanno 28, S Kaboto 25; V Frank 3-11)
PNG won by 11 runs
Player of the Match:
Veru Frank (PNG)

At Tanuma HS: 3rd place play-off
Cook Islands v Samoa

Samoa 198-2, 20 overs (M Tuilagi 104, R Lili'I 45*; P Maruariki 1-15)
Cook Islands 88-7, 20 overs (M Kaukuru 24*; M Uliao 4-15, F Vaelua 2-8)
Samoa won by 110 runs
Player of the Match:
Moelagi Tuilagi (Samoa)

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