Vanuatu have joined Papua New Guinea in advancing to the next round of World T20 Cricket Qualifiers despite a two wicket defeat by the Barramundis in Suva.

Wicket-keeper Jamal Vira struck a quick-fire 39 runs from 25 balls down the order as Vanuatu scored 51 runs from the last five overs to reach 145 for 9 batting first.

Barramundis captain Assad Vala was the pick of the bowlers, snaring 4 for 25, and added 40 runs from 26 balls at the top of the order, to pick up his third consecutive man of the match award, as PNG reached their target with eight balls to spare to finish with a perfect six wins from six.

“It’s been a tough five months for us, to get the rewards for the work we’ve put in during this week has been really enjoyable,” said Vala.

“To come into the middle and execute under pressure is the most important thing for me.”

Vanuatu held onto second place in the East Asia Pacific Group A standings on net run rate after Samoa thrashed hosts Fiji by nine wickets in the other final round clash.

Metuisela Beitaki blasted 91 from 66 balls as the hosts posted 163 for 6 batting first but Dominic Michael finished 100 not out as Samoa surged to victory with three and a half overs to spare, to leapfrog the home team into third place.

PNG and Vanuatu now progress to next year’s East Asia Pacific Regional Final.

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