27 Feb 2017

Sport: 'Wiser' Vanuatu prepare for World Cricket League return

1:07 pm on 27 February 2017

Vanuatu is looking forward to a solid diet of international cricket after beating Fiji by six wickets to take out the East Asia Pacific World Cricket League Qualifier.

Fiji lost three wickets in the first five overs and slumped to 47 for 8 before a fighting 46 not out from Riyad Khan down the order helped the Blues scrape through to 118 all out in the 48th over.

Vanutu lost opening batsmen Jelany Chilia for a duck in the first over but Josh Rasu and Patrick Matautaava steadied the ship with a 46 run stand for the second wicket.

Matautaava finished 54 not out, guiding Vanuatu to their target with more than 22 overs to spare to earn a return back to World Cricket League Division Five.

Coach Shane Deitz said it was an emphatic performance to cap off an unbeaten week.

"I think we just bowled really well under pressure," he said.

"It was actually a very good batting surface so it was just down to really good bowling and once we got a roll on we just kept going, kept picking up those wickets regularly, so it was great."

Vanuatu celebrate winning the East Asia Pacific World Cricket League Qualifier.

Vanuatu celebrate winning the East Asia Pacific World Cricket League Qualifier. Photo: ICC

Vanuatu were relegated from World Cricket League Five in Jersey last year but Shane Deitz said their performances this week, which also included victories against Indonesia, the Philippines, Samoa and Japan, showed that they were progressing.

"We're getting better and handling the pressure and learning to play 50-over cricket a lot better," he said.

"Last two tournaments in Division Six and Division Five that was probably our weakness - a little bit too much T20 style batting in particular and we really worked on more 50-over plans.

"That worked really well so that's something we've definitely improved on and we learnt over this tournament."

Where and when Cricket League Five takes place has yet to be determined but Shane Deitz said Vanuatu would be a wiser team than the one relegated at the same stage last year.

"So we come fourth, which should have meant we should have stayed in Division Five but the changing of the system meant we had to qualify again but we're back there now," he said.

"I think we will be better for the experiences we had last year and depending where the tournament is - we've played the last couple in England and very cold in UK conditions.

"So maybe something else a bit warmer and the flatter pitches might suit us a bit better too."

Cayman Islands have also qualified for Cricket League Five after winning the ICC Americas Qualifier earlier this month.

Guernsey retained their place after beating Vanuatu last year, while Jersey and Italy been relegated from Cricket League Four.