There hasn’t been much to celebrate for Vanuatu cricket fans over the past few days… that was until Patrick Matauataava played what is probably the greatest innings in the history of Vanuatu cricket. 139 runs. 115 minutes. 76 balls. 15 fours. 8 sixes. A strike rate of 183. The highest individual score in Vanuatu history, reports Cricket Pasifika.
The day started with Vanuatu facing an uphill battle to make it through to the semifinals. Vanuatu was yet to win a match after two poor days with losses against Jersey and Ghana. For Vanuatu to make the semifinal they needed to beat Germany by a big margin and hope that Jersey would smash Ghana in the other match of Group B.
Vanuatu bowled first for the first time this tournament. Nipiko went for more than 9 an over for his first 3 overs but Matautaava kept it tight conceding only 3 runs in his first 3 overs with a wicket maiden in his third. Vanuatu kept the pressure on the Germans after that first wicket with Viraliliu replacing Nipiko and striking twice with the score on 35 and then 51. He bowled unchanged for his full quota conceding just 20 runs. However the Germans consolidated at 4-55 with captain Pillai forging a 50 run partnership with Ess before his partner was dismissed for 23 with the score on 107. Singh joined his captain and together they upped the tempo with Singh hitting 4 fours and 3 sixes for his 47. The wickets then began to tumble but it all looked too little too late as Chilia finished off the tail taking 4 for 39, his best figures in a 50 over international match.
Germany finished with an imposing 227 from their overs. Jersey finished with a similar 226 and Vanuatu looked all but done for. For Vanuatu to overtake Germany’s net run rate and make it to the semi final they would need to score 228 in 31.2 overs and have Ghana score no more than 143. Vanuatu’s innings began disastrously losing Dunn for 9 and then Nipiko, Rasu and Mansale in quick succession leaving Vanuatu reeling at 4-58 (10 overs). Vanuatu would need to score 170 runs off 128 balls to be a chance with only 6 wickets in hand.
I don’t think anyone was prepared for what came next. Patrick Matautaava hit the next two balls to the boundary and the third over it as he stated his intention to go after the total and his run scoring continued unabated throughout the rest of the innings. He brought his 50 up off 36 balls and took only 21 more balls to reach his first international 100. Ronald Tari who had supported Matautaava through the innings was caught soon after and the pressure began to mount.
Meanwhile Ghana were looking to take the control out of Vanuatu’s hands sitting comfortably at 4-97. If they scored to0 many runs they would knock out Vanuatu based on the net run rate. However Ghana then collapsed and lost their next 6 wickets for 21 runs to be all out for 118. The stage was set for Matautaava’s big finale.
Pat proceeded to destroy the hapless German bowlers as he passed Andrew Mansale’s record score of 128. However Kalworai departed for just 2 runs before Langa joined Matautaava to finish off the innings. Vanuatu won the match in the 29th over easily passing Germany’s net run rate and Vanuatu secured their place in the Semi Final of the 2017 ICC World Cricket League Division Five.
Vanuatu will play Italy tomorrow in the Semi Final with the winner earning promotion to the final and to ICC World Cricket League Division Four.