Samoa win a thriller against Japan

A happy Samoa team following their victory
A happy Samoa team following their victory

Samoa Women 207-8 (Lili'I 56) beat
Japan Women 181 (Lili'I 3-9) by 26 runs
2016 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier – East Asia-Pacific, game three

The first round of the 2016 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier – East Asia-Pacific concluded with hosts Samoa taking a thrilling 26-run win over Japan in game three.

Batting first, Samoa reached 207 for eight from their 50 overs with Regina Lili'I top scoring with 56 and Via Andrew making 42.

Japan gave game chase thanks to Mai Yanagida's 45 before they were bowled out for 181 in 46.2 overs.

Captain Lili'I completed a fine all-round performance with a haul of three for nine.

Yanagida and Etsuko Kobayashi (26) added 62 together for Japan's fourth wicket but once they departed, Samoa regained control having earlier posted the highest total of the tournament so far.

Lilia Bourne also made 35 for the hosts while Kurumi Ota and Ayako Nakayama both claimed two wickets for Japan, who have now lost both of their games.

"It was a close game and a tough game, it was a good run chase and very proud of the team," Japan captain Yanagida said.

"I’m disappointed with the result but the tournament has just started and our batting was much better," she added.

Samoa captain Lili'I was delighted with the side's first win of the competition.

"Our girls fought really really hard, and just really showed their heart. Japan put up such an awesome fight," she said.

"We played a lot better than against PNG, the girls had a bit more belief, the girls were playing more their style of cricket which was good to see."

Now they take on PNG, who have won both of their games so far, in what Lili'I sees as a must-win clash.

"We don’t want to think too much about the result, we just trying to focus on the process and take it ball-by-ball," she said.

The side at the top of the standings after all three sides have played each other twice will join the bottom four sides in the ICC Women's Championship, Bangladesh, Ireland and other regional winners in the global qualifier for next year's ICC Women's World Cup.

© Cricket World 2016