Sano (Japan): Japan have qualified for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup for the first time ever as they have been confirmed winners of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup East Asia-Pacific (EAP) Qualifier in Sano on Saturday (June 8).

Japan will travel to South Africa in early 2020 to participate in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup after securing qualification on home soil.

Japan qualified in a bizarre way as their opponents Papua New Guinea forfeited their final match after suspending 11 of their players "for internal disciplinary reasons and failing to adhere to our strict codes of conduct".

At the Sano International Cricket Ground earlier in the day, Vanuatu overcame a fightback from Samoa to chase down the total of 56 within the 20th over with two wickets to spare.

Samoa won the toss and opted to bat on a seaming pitch and were in immediate trouble losing three wickets in the first three overs.

Samoan batsmen tried to rejuvenate the innings but unfortunately for them they were unable to forge out any substantial partnerships and were eventually bowled out for 56.

Vanuatu opening bowler used the conditions to his favour causing all sorts of trouble for the Samoan batsmen, on his way to collecting personal best figures (8 for 18 off 8.2).

With the conditions still overcast, the Samoan bowlers fought back bravely taking wickets at regular intervals.

Vanuatu captain Bettan Viraliliu (23 off 42) made the most of his chances to anchor the innings however was eventually dismissed with the score at 6/47 in the 18th over.

Vanuatu managed to scrape through passing the Samoan score with two wickets in hand, although some lion-hearted bowling from the Samoan opening bowlers of Sitanisilao Toutai (2 for 21 off 8) and Lester Evile (5 for 23 off 9.4) almost snatched an improbable victory.

Andrew Mansale, coach of Vanuatu praised the bowling advice from former New Zealand Test Player Brent Arnel who joined the team during the week.

“Brent gave us a few tips during the week, the result was that one of our bowlers, Edwell Kalfau took eight wickets and the way he bowled was just unbelievable, where he used the conditions really well to his advantage”.

The day capped off a fascinating week in Sano, which showcased the best of youth cricket in the East Asia-Pacific region

Brief scores

Samoa 56 (16.2) Kalfau 8/18 (8.2) defeated by Vanuatu 8/57 (19.4) Viraliliu 23, Evile 5/23 (9.4) by 2 wickets

Japan defeated PNG by walkover