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North Efate Bush Pigs Clinch Grand Final Victory in Thrilling Finish

In a tense and thrilling Grand Final of the Port Vila Men's T20 Championship, the North Efate Bush Pigs emerged victorious against Tafea Cricket Club, winning by 4 wickets to claim the championship title. The match, held at the Vanuatu Cricket Ground, showcased high-quality cricket from both sides, culminating in a dramatic finish.

The regular season saw Tafea Cricket Club dominate, finishing with an impeccable record of 10 wins from 10 matches, securing the top spot with a net run rate (NRR) of +3.896. The North Efate Bush Pigs, despite a few stumbles, finished second with 6 wins, 3 losses, and 1 abandoned match, boasting a strong NRR of +2.125. Paama Sharks and Mighty Saints rounded out the top four, setting the stage for an exciting semifinal round.

Semifinals Recap:

In the semifinals, Tafea Cricket Club showcased their dominance with a comprehensive victory over the Mighty Saints. Batting first, Tafea set a formidable target of 210 for 5 in 20 overs. The innings was powered by Wamejo Wotu's blistering 77 off 31 balls and Williamsing Nalisa's rapid 45 off 20 balls. In response, the Mighty Saints struggled to keep up, managing only 149 for 9 in their 20 overs, falling short by 61 runs.

In the other semifinal, North Efate Bush Pigs displayed a strong performance against Paama Sharks. Batting first, the Bush Pigs posted an imposing total of 224 for 3 in 20 overs, with significant contributions from Nick Venables (63 not out) and Tim Cutler (55 not out). The Sharks put up a valiant effort in their chase but ultimately fell short, finishing at 182 for 7 in 20 overs.

Grand Final Match:

Opting to bat first in the Grand Final, Tafea Cricket Club faced an early onslaught from the Bush Pigs' bowlers. Remondo Lekai provided a brief respite with 10 runs off 16 balls before being caught by Clement Tommy off Stanley Iata. Junior Nirua and Williamsing Nalisa fell in quick succession, both victims of Iata’s accurate bowling, leaving Tafea reeling at 15 for 3.

Wamejo Wotu tried to stabilize the innings with a brisk 17 off 12 balls, including three boundaries, but his aggressive approach was cut short by Tim Cutler. Captain Rodrick Lekai and Julian Tommy attempted to rebuild but managed only 7 and 4 runs, respectively, before being dismissed by Cutler and Tari. The middle-order collapse continued as Vakessa Nauni scored 14 off 16 balls before being trapped lbw by Nick Venables, and Darren Wotu added 13 off 22 balls before being run out by Clement Tommy.

Despite some lower-order resistance from Rivaldo Vakessa and Shay Narai, who scored 4 and 9 respectively, Tafea Cricket Club was bowled out for 87 in 19 overs. The Bush Pigs' bowlers were exceptional, with Stanley Iata leading the attack, taking 3 for 20 in his 4 overs. Tim Cutler and Nick Venables also contributed significantly, claiming two wickets each, and Charlie Boe supported with 2 for 17 in his 4 overs.

Chasing a modest target of 88, the North Efate Bush Pigs faced early pressure as Samuel Strid was dismissed for a duck by Wamejo Wotu. However, captain R Tari anchored the innings with a crucial 39 off 33 balls, hitting three boundaries and two sixes, showcasing his leadership under pressure. Clement Tommy added valuable runs with 17 off 14 balls, but the Bush Pigs stumbled with the quick wickets of Nick Venables and Tim Cutler, both falling to Shay Narai who was the standout bowler for Tafea, taking 4 for 22 in his 4 overs.

As the tension mounted, the Bush Pigs needed a composed finish. Stanley Iata and Aaron Strid held their nerve, steering the team to victory. Iata remained unbeaten on 4 off 4 balls, and Aaron Strid finished with 4 off 3 balls, ensuring the Bush Pigs reached the target in 14 overs. Extras contributed 4 runs to the Bush Pigs' total, as disciplined bowling from Tafea kept the game competitive until the end.

This victory marked a significant achievement for the North Efate Bush Pigs, showcasing their resilience and teamwork throughout the match. The win was a testament to their all-round performance, and composed season. The Grand Final was a fitting end to the season, highlighting the high level of competition in the Port Vila Men's T20 Championship.

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