Saturday the 10th of May featured the Barret & Partners Men’s T20 semi-finals at the Vanuatu Cricket Grounds and Independence Park.

Vanuatu Cricket Ground hosted the semi-final between Mele Bulls and Paama Sharks. Mele Bulls thrashed Paama Sharks to enter into the final after Paama Sharks won the toss and elected to bowl first.

Bulls with a reputation of being big hitters have not failed to deliver last Saturday after being given the opportunity to bat first seeing Captain Andrew Mansale (84 runs off 37 balls, not out) hit a total of 5 sixes and 8 fours while fast bowler and batsman Patrick Matautava (60 runs off 35 balls) with 3 sixes and 6 fours. The excitement of the great cricket played by the Bulls was also returned with some good bowling from the sharks side which saw them dismiss Bulls opener and big hitter Trevor Langa for just 1 run, Jelany Chilia for 28 runs, Patrick Matautava for 60 runs and Eddie Mansale for 8 runs. Zidane Bong took 2 wickets and Maxim Stephen took 3 wickets for their Sharks side.

Even with the good performance in the field by the Sharks, Bulls have managed to set a thrilling 6/204 runs off 20 overs on the scoreboard at the end of the first inning.

Sharks with a target score of 205 to win have not lost hope given their reputation of causing surprising upsets in past competitions. With the hope of turning the game in their favour Sharks sent in captain Jamal Vira and big hitter William Yamak to open the batting for their team. Yamak got on to a soaring start dominating strike in the first over and smashing Patrick Matautava’s balls all around the field. Skipper Jamal Vira with all the pressure on his shoulders looking to contribute to the team was set for an unfortunate surprise after getting bowled out on the first delivery he faced.

Malon Tastuki from the Bulls not allowing William Yamak to take advantage of his bowling dismissed Yamak for 43 runs (off 20 balls). Patrick Matautava then did all the damage with the ball taking the wicket of big hitters Apo Stephen and Wesley Vira and the wicket of young Ala Vira to restrict sharks from making runs.

Sharks never recovered from the early fall of wickets of their batsmen allowing Mele Bulls to completely thrash them by bowling them all out in the 16th over of their inning and winning by a massive 125 runs.

In the second game of the semi-finals Tafea Sandalwood took on APT Dolphins for a spot in the final at Independence Park. Tafea Sandalwood won the toss and elected to bowl leaving APT Dolphins to bat first.

APT Dolphins a team also known for their big hitting did not fail to impress after Joshua Rasu scored a half century and Kendy Kenneth a century. Joshua Rasu (66 runs off 34 balls) scored 4 sixes and 7 fours to bring up his half century while Kendy Kenneth (103 runs off 41 balls) scored 6 sixes and 8 fours to reach his century and be the top runs scorer of the day. While the big scores are the result of great batting the batsmen had to work hard to reach these scores due to some great bowling from the Tafea side. Ricky Rakau and Darren Wotu both putting up a fight with their bowling resulting in both of them taking 3 wickets each to limit Dolphins to a final score of 8/209 after 20 overs on the score board.

With a target score of 210 to win Tafea Sandalwood have not lost hope of grabbing the win as the team consists of some great batsmen. Lenika Natapei and Vakesa Nauni with hopes of setting a solid start for their team got off to a good start until Stephane Sandy from the Dolphins impressed with his spin bowling to claim the first wicket of Lenika Natapei (10 runs off 6 balls).

Tafea’s skipper Clement Tommy also with a lot of pressure on his young shoulders did not fail to impress with the bat which saw him hit 4 sixes, 4 fours and score a half century (61 runs) before he was dismissed by Dolphins pace bowler Kenny Tari. Vakesa Nauni also managing 42 runs off 44 balls and young spinner Williamsing Nalisa managing 35 runs off 16 balls before both batsmen were sent off the pitch. Stephane Sandy then continued his attack with the ball to claim another two wickets before Tafea reached the end of the 20 over inning and falling 24 runs short to Dolphins.

APT Dolphins won by 24 runs to also claim a spot in the Barret & Partners Men’s T20 final.

While all the excitement around the semi-finals are starting to sink in, Mele Bulls will take on APT Dolphins in the Grand Final of the Barret & Partners Men’s T20 club championship. The grand final will commence at 12:30pm and will be hosted by Vanuatu Cricket Association at Independence Park.

The Grand Final match will definitely be an exciting game to watch with both teams featuring the likes of the Men’s National Cricket Captain Andrew Mansale and Vanuatu Cricket’s international cricketers Joshua Rasu and Patrick Matautava.

Vanuatu Cricket is also inviting everyone interested to come and watch an exciting game of cricket at Independence Park on Saturday the 17th of June at 12:30 to support your favourite team. There will be entertainment, food and drinks on sale, amazing prizes to win and most importantly some big hitting and fast bowling from both teams.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to watch some of our national cricketers in action.

Raymond Nasse

Sports Editor

raymond@dailypost.vu

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