Vanuatu national cricket team players return to action after an extended break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Vanuatu Blast T10 League is set to commence on May 21 as sport finally returns to the island nation.
We welcome the return of cricket to Vanuatu by looking at the national team, their best players and all that they have achieved. While Nalin Nipiko has been the most consistent performer in their short history, quite a few players have had a positive impact on the team.
Here is all you need to know about the Vanuatu national cricket team and all that they have achieved on the international stage.
Vanuatu National Cricket Team best players
1. Nalin Nipiko
24-year-old Nalin Nipiko was recently named Vanuatu national team’s captain after Andrew Mansale stepped down from the role. Although he is yet to captain the country in a match, he has had a significant impact on the team already.
With 24 wickets and 312 T20I runs, Nipiko is first and second on the all-time highest wicket-takers and run-getters lists respectively. The right-arm medium pacer also holds the record for best bowling figures for Vanuatu.
2. Joshua Rasu
Opener Joshua Rasu provides stability at the top of the order. With 374 runs in 13 games, the right-handed batsman currently tops the charts for run-getters of the Vanuatu national team. Rasu scored his runs at an average of 28.76 and a strike rate of 110.65.
The 26-year-old has two international fifties to his name, including a match-winning 74 in a 17-run win over Malaysia.
3. Patrick Matautaava
The only international centurion for the Vanuatu national team, Patrick Matautaava scored 103 against Malaysia in a T20I back in October, 2019. The right-handed batsman has 265 runs to his name at an impressive strike rate of 169.87.
In addition to a century and a half-century in the recent T20I series against Malaysia, Matautaava also has nine wickets to his name.
4. Andrew Mansale
The first captain of Vanuatu, Andrew Mansale is a handy all-rounder with 159 runs and 13 wickets to his name. Although Mansale opens the batting for the team, his crucial contribution has been in the form of his off-breaks.
The off-spinner’s 13 wickets have come at an impressive average of 13.53 and a miserly economy of 6.76. Mansale recently stepped down as the captain of the Vanuatu national team after the series against Malaysia.
5. Simpson Obed
Rounding up the five best players from Vanuatu is leg-spinner Simpson Obed. The 30-year-old has picked up 11 wickets and is third on the highest wicket-takers list for the nation.
Obed’s 11 wickets have come at a decent average of 17.27. He’s also maintained an economy of 6.78 through his short career so far, making him an excellent option to tighten the screws on the batsmen if they threaten to take the game away from the bowlers.
Vanuatu National Cricket Team match history
The Vanuatu national team played their first-ever T20I international against Papua New Guinea on March 22, 2019. In the next seven months, they would go on to play a total of 14 matches, winning five and losing 9.
Three of their five wins have come against Malaysia in a 3-2 series win back in October. Andrew Mansale, who served as the captain of the team from the start of their journey, announced his resignation after this series.
The Vanuatu national cricket team’s first-ever win came in only their second-ever T20I as they recorded a 63-run win over the Philippines. Incidentally, this is still their biggest win in terms of runs.
After Andrew Mansale resigned as captain of the team in November, Nalin Nipiko, arguably the best player in the Vanuatian ranks now, was appointed the captain of the Vanuatu national cricket team.
Vanuatu National Cricket Team records
Highest Total - 188/6 vs Malaysia, 2 October 2019
Most Runs - Joshua Rasu, 374 runs
Highest Individual Score - Patrick Matautaava, 103 vs Malaysia, 2 October 2019
Most Wickets - Nalin Nipiko, 24 wickets
Best Bowling Figures - Nalin Nipiko, 5/19 vs Papua New Guinea, 9 July 2019
Biggest Win - 63 runs vs Philippines, 23 March 2019
Best Partnership - Patrick Matautaava and Joshua Rasu, 103 runs vs Malaysia, 4 October 2019