VANUATU can celebrate the sensational success of the Vanuatu National Men’s Cricket Team after a week of intense competition in South Africa which undoubtedly has a lot of fans, supporters and players on the edge of their seats.
Team Vanuatu had a relatively slow start, losing to Jersey and Ghana in the group stage before – just like magic – performing as if their lives depended on it, shocking not just Germany but Italy as well when they bounced back and stormed their way into the Final, sealing their World Cricket League (WCL) Division 4 promotion.
The beauty of the home-grown Vanuatu team in South Africa was not just performing at the highest level possible in the competition, but also displaying some real star potential players such as the likes of Patrick Matautaava and young National U19’s captain Wesley Viraliliu.
Vanuatu sealed their WCL Div 4 qualification after bypassing Italy who were undefeated in group A in the semi-final, witnessing the second of two stunning performances from Patrick Matautaava, who knocked an amazing 139 runs not out off 76 balls to send Germany home in the last match at group stage.
Sending Italy home not only meant WCL Div 4 promotion but also the chance to again tackle Jersey, who were relegated from Division 4 back to Division 5 last year in the WCL Div 5 grand final.
The highly coveted WCL Div 4 promotion also meant that Vanuatu is now ranked in the top 30 ICC rankings, bringing their ranking a couple of steps higher than when they entered the competition.
Vanuatu entered the competition an equal-32 in the ICC rankings along with Cayman Islands, Qatar, Ghana and Germany but have now moved up the ladder, bringing Vanuatu’s dream of participating in the World Cup one step closer.
In the final, Vanuatu won the toss and elected to bowl first, sending Jersey in to bat.
Jersey, a fierce competitor with high quality players, sent their players in to bat without expecting to have three of their top batsmen dismissed within just eight overs of the first innings, two of them by Callum Blake.
Stevens however, managed to keep Jersey on the front foot with 86 runs off 101 balls before he was dismissed himself. Jersey managed 255 runs before being bowled all out in the 48 overs.
Vanuatu, with a target of 256 to win, started their innings strongly with good batting until Jersey responded with accurate bowling, leaving Vanuatu unsuccessful in their chase going all out for 15 runs after the 36th over.
Losing to Jersey in the final was not a setback for Team Vanuatu as the experience prepares the team well for the new and ferocious competition Vanuatu will be a part of in the WCL Div 4 against countries like Uganda, Bermuda, Malaysia, Denmark and Jersey, who have been performing at the world stage for a long time.
The VCA and Vanuatu as a whole is immensely proud of the achievements of team Vanuatu and it would only be fitting if everyone can support the VCA by giving the team the best homecoming on Wednesday, September 13 at the Bauerfield international airport.