The Big Story
Early wickets from Simpson Obed and dominance from Joshua Rasu set the platform for two convincing Mighty Efate Panthers victories on matchday one of the Vanuatu T10 Blast in Port Vila.
Mighty Efate Panthers vs. MT Bulls
MEP 128/5 (Rasu 33, Viraliliu 26, Eddie Mansale 2-23) beat MT Bulls 91 (Mansale 75, Viraliliu 3-16) by 37 runs
A bruising 26(8) and 3-wicket haul from Wesley Viraliliu led the Might Efate Panthers to victory over pre-tournament favourites MT Bulls in the first game of the inaugural Vanuatu T10 Blast.
There was no better way to kick off the tournament than with the rhythmical action of Patrick Matautaava, who struck off just his third ball, getting one to jag back off the surface into the stumps of a helpless Lazaro Carlot.
Joshua Rasu then pulled out his patented scoop to get things going for the men in grey and black. Jarryd Allan struggled at the other end despite slog sweeping a maximum early in his innings. His departure for a 10-ball 11 brought Viraliuliu to the crease.
The next 10 balls would swing the game in favor of MEP as Rasu and Viraliuliu pummeled 34 runs.
The Bulls would have been hoping for some respite when Rasu fell off the first ball of the sixth over with the score on 69. However, Simpson Obed and Macmillan Markia had other ideas as they chipped in with a rapid 21 and 17 respectively to propel MEP to an imposing 128.
In the second innings, MT Bulls suffered a nightmare start, losing Matautaava off the very first ball of the innings. Wickets continued to tumble, including two in an over off the bowling of Wesley Viraliuliu.
Andrew Mansale held strong from the other end, closing out the 5th over with two consecutive maximums off Joshua Rasu. However, with 86 required off the last 5 overs it was always going to be a tall order for the men in green.
Despite bludgeoning Joshua Rasu for three maximums in the 7th over, whatever little hope Mansale had of single-handedly pushing the MEP across the line soon dissipated with a miserly two-run penultimate over by Tony Tamata.
Mansale nicked through to keeper Jarryd Allan off the final ball of the game as Wesley Viraliuliu picked up his third wicket to hand MEP a comfortable 37-run win.
Mighty Efate Panthers vs. Ifira Sharks
Mighty Efate Panthers 36/5 (Obed 21, Stephane Sandy 1-4) beat Ifira Sharks 35 all out (Rasu 3-7, Obed 3-9) by 5 wickets with 14 balls to spare
The second game saw what was perhaps the worst batting display in the short history of T10. Choosing to bat first, the Ifira Sharks were bowled out for 35 in as little as 7.1 overs as MEP notched up their second win of the day.
Simpson Obed followed up his dismissal of Patrick Matautaava in the previous game with the massive wicket of Nalin Nipiko, who could only muster a run-a-ball 3.
Things went from bad to worse when Jamal Vira was bowled by a Joshua Rasu off-break that spun in to beat the inside edge of his bat.
In what could be a sign of things to come in the tournament, Ifira’s innings never got going after losing their two best batsmen. The trial by spin worked wonders as both skipper Rasu and Obed bowled out, picking up another two wickets apiece. At 17/6 after 4 overs, the writing was on the wall for the men in blue.
The tail did not wag and 19 balls later; the Shark’s fans were finally put out of their misery.
“Whatever you can do, we can do better,” said the Mighty Efate Panthers in reply. They lost three early wickets for the addition of just two runs, including Wesley Viraliuliu, player of the match from the previous game.
Ifira, however, failed to sustain this early jump scare as Simpson Obed padded up his tournament statistics with an assured 21 (16). When he fell in the sixth over with the score on 29, the result was a foregone conclusion.
MEP strolled home with 14 balls to spare, cementing their position at the top of the table.
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