Author: Daniel Beswick (Emerging Cricket)
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Three teams make up the tournament -- the Mele-Tafea Bulls, the Mighty Efate Panthers and the Ifira Sharks. Flick through the pages below as we run the microscope over the teams battling it out for volcanic supremacy!
“Bulls rule this land!”
Captain: Andrew Mansale
Colours: green and gold
Squad: Andrew Mansale, Clement Tommy, Damien Chilia, Nono Chilia, Vincent Matautaava, Wamejo Wotu, Williamsing Nalisa, Darren Wotu, Eddie Mansale, Malon Tastuki, Marcel Taea, Patrick Matautaava, Philip Tsione, Rival Samson, Shay Narai, Godfrey Mangau, Julian Tommy, Revaldo Teana Team Manager: Malon Poilapa
Key players: Patrick Matautaava, Andrew Mansale, Clement Tommy, Williamsing Nalisa
Ones to watch: Philip Tsione, Damien Chilia, Nono Chilia, Wamejo Wotu
The Mele-Tafea Bulls could have the strongest side on paper, with the side very much a family affair, filled with famous names in emerging cricket circles. Former Vanuatu captain Andrew Mansale leads the team, with several other full internationals in the team, including Patrick Matautaava, Clement Tommy and Williamsing Nalisa. Clement Tommy has a history of scoring big in T20 domestic tournaments in Vanuatu, while all-rounder Nalisa, one of the youngest members of the senior team, will be a handful with his leg-spin.
Patrick Matautaava is arguably the most credentialed cricketer at the tournament, with a strong international record and elite club-level experience in Victoria at multiple clubs. Meanwhile, off-spinner Vincent Matautaava also represented the Vanuatu U19 side at the East-Asia Pacific World Cup qualifiers, with Nono Chilia and Marcel Taea also current U19 internationals.
The Bulls have no shortage of power hitting, and the variety in their bowling stocks will make them tough to beat.
Predicted XI: P. Matautaava C. Tommy A. Mansale Tsione D. Chilia Nalisa Mangau Wotu Taea E. Mansale V. Matautaava
Mighty Efate Panthers
“Ready to attack on land and water!”
Captain: Joshua Rasu
Colours: grey and black
Squad: Brian Tari, Edwell Kalfau, Jarryd Allan, Richard Barnes, Selwyn Garae, Shem Sala, Simpson Obed, Tony Tamata, Lazaro Carlot, Lency Shem, Wesley Viraliliu, Joshua Rasu, Junior Alfred Carlot, Kendy Kenneth, Kenny Tari, Manu Kenni, MacMillan Markia, William Laumae, Lenika Natapei, Maxim Stephen Team Manager: Brett Wright
Key players: Joshua Rasu, Simpson Obed, Wesley Viraliliu
Ones to watch: Edwell Kalfau, Tony Tamata, William Laumae, Lazaro Carlot
The Mighty Efate Panthers are led by senior international Joshua Rasu, who boasts an impressive national team record in both facets of the game. Averaging a tick under 30 in T20Is, he also has a five-wicket haul against Papua New Guinea to his name bowling his medium pace. Simpson Obed’s leg-spin will be almost competition-defining for the Panthers, and Wesley Viraliliu’s contribution with both bat and ball could turn a game.
Quick Edwell Kalfau enjoyed a strong East-Asia Pacific U19 World Cup Qualifier last year, and the Panthers have no less than four current youth internationals in their side. Look out for William Laumae, a squad member of the U19 national side, who is just 14 years of age. At the other end of the spectrum, 30-year-old Lazaro Carlot hasn’t represented the national team for a number of years, but has enjoyed run-filled T20 championships in recent years and could use the tournament to spring back into national team contention.
The lottery of T10 means the Panthers will always be in the hunt, and the short format gives a sense of freedom to the top order, who could come off the ground with 150 next to their team’s name. Write the Panthers off at your peril.
Predicted XI: Rasu Allen K. Tari Moli Viraliliu Tamata L. Carlot Laumae Kalfau Kenni Obed
“Do not swim in shark-infested waters. You’re not ready for this shark attack”
Captain: Nalin Nipiko
Colours: light blue and black
Squad: Alex Stephen, Fernando Laumae, Nalin Nipiko, Wolford Kalworai, Bethan Moli, Niko Unavalu, Obed Yosef, Stephane Sandy, Vince Vira, William Yamak, Gilmour Kaltongga, Harry Pakoa, Jamal Vira, Michael Avock, Ambong Rakau, Apolinaire Stephen, Brenan Meyer Team Manager: Mark Dunn
Key players: Nalin Nipiko, Apolinaire Stephen, Jamal Vira
Ones to watch: Obed Yosef, Vince Vira, Gilmour Kaltongga, Wolford Kalworai
Even looking past their own mix of international experience, and the leadership of newly-appointed senior skipper Nalin Nipiko, the Ifira Sharks have a depth of overall talent, with everyone in the squad ready to contribute even in the game’s shortest format. Gilmour Kaltongga and Wolford Kalworai, while both on the fringes of the national team, have enjoyed huge success in several domestic tournaments over the years, and both relish in the challenges the hybrid surface at the VCG. Kalworai has a domestic T20 hundred to his name, and is likely to open the batting.
For all of this depth though, Nipiko is the main man. Averaging 26 with the bat in T20I cricket, taking a wicket every nine balls in the format, and at an economy of under eight runs an over, there isn’t many things the 24-year-old can’t do. The experienced Jamal Vira keeps wicket for the national team, and is a trusted pair of eyes to help Nipiko in the field. Apolinaire Stephen will spearhead the attack with his seam and Obed Yosef’s left-arm orthodox will reel teams back in if they get away early.
The Sharks will have plans B and C ready if things go awry, and will be circling to prey on their competition.
Predicted XI: Nipiko Kalworai J. Vira Kaltonga F. Laumae V. Vira Unavalu Lamak Sandy Yosef Ap. Stephen
Author: Daniel Beswick (Emerging Cricket)