The Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu National Men’s team came off the back of a major learning tournament to win the T20 International Bilateral Series against Malaysia on Thursday night after defeating Malaysian National team for the third time in the series.
The series consisted of five T20 international matches between Vanuatu and Malaysia which commenced on Saturday September 29th, just two days after the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge.
With ranking points at stake, Vanuatu started off strong and picked up the first two wins of the series then Malaysia made a comeback to win the third match. Vanuatu with newfound spirits, retaliated and defeated the hosts in the fourth match leaving them with three wins and Malaysia with one win.
This 3-1 win means that Vanuatu have won the series and will be playing for rankings in the fifth and final match on Friday the 4th of October at 9:00pm Vanuatu time.
Clint McKay, the national men’s interim coach, said that he is impressed with the skill and athleticism of the boys and he also expressed that he has enjoyed his first experience coaching the team at a tournament.
“[My] experience with the boys has been excellent and I have very much enjoyed my time because the boys have been fantastic and they are now starting to play some fantastic cricket.
“The thing that impressed me the most is their skill-set and athleticism. The boys are so skilful with the way they move in the field and run between wickets is incredible plus, they also hit the ball as far as anyone I have seen,” he said.
Mckay also stated that the team have done well in the T20I compared to the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League because they believed in their ability to play cricket and he believes the next step for the team would be to play as much cricket as they can on the newly installed hybrid cricket pitch at the Vanuatu Cricket Grounds (VCG).
“I think the team started believing in their own ability to play cricket which gave them more freedom to play and they have been able to execute their skills under pressure.
“The boys also started playing like a team and the way they are willing to help each other out in the field and play their individual roles is a credit to them all.
“The next step for these boys when they return home is to play as much as they can on the new hybrid cricket pitch because the conditions over here (Malaysia) have been completely different to the synthetic wickets they play on back home (Vanuatu).
"This will help them develop their batting to spin bowling, find new ways to score runs and work out what works for them when the ball is spinning. This will allow them to be able to adjust to different playing conditions,” Mckay concluded.
Shane Deitz, the CEO of the VCA also praised the team for their performance in the T20I series against Malaysia and for getting through a very challenging tournament that was the ICC CWC League.
“This is the highest level we (men’s team) have competed at ever so it was always going to be challenging tour but it has been a brilliant experience and a great learning curve on and off the field for the team.
“To come off the back of the challenging ICC CWC League to win the T20I series against Malaysia who are ranked 24 positions higher than us is a great result and we have played some of our best cricket internationally ever,” he said.
Deitz also expressed that the newly installed hybrid pitch at the VCG with be utilized to prepare the team for future tournaments.
With the ICC CWC League concluded and the T20I bilateral series coming to a close after the final match on Friday the 4th of October, CEO, Deitz expressed on behalf of the VCA, acknowledgement for the support that the team has received in the last four weeks.
“The team have felt and gone through many ups and downs throughout the tournament and I have no doubt all our supporters in Vanuatu have felt those ups and down too.
“Being away from home for a month is hard but reading all the positive and encouraging comments on Facebook and receiving messages from home always keeps us going and looking to get better every day and I would like to say TANKYU TUMAS for all the home support,” Deitz concluded.
Vanuatu Cricket would also like to acknowledge the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu, Airports Vanuatu, Air Vanuatu and Sommers Sportswear for their sponsorship of the National Men's cricket team.