Japan go down fighting to PNG
- National Team (Men)
Hosts Papua New Guinea got the better of a Japan team who showed plenty of fight at Amini Park.
The loss of early wickets proved pivotal as Japan struggled to deal with the extra pace on show from the PNG bowlers, most notably Sema Kamea who dismissed both Japanese opening batters.
It was left to Declan Suzuki and Reo Sakurano to rebuild from 28 for six in the eighth over, with Suzuki still there at the end of the innings unbeaten on 34*.
A total of 87 for eight was always going to be tough to defend, but the Japanese players came out fighting in the second innings.
Sakurano bowled a memorable spell to have the hosts rattled at 10 for two in the first three overs, before Assad Vala (28) and Charles Amini (30*) led the recovery with a partnership of 51.
Ibrahim Takahashi removed the dangerous Vala and Makoto Taniyama removed vice captain Lega Siaka but PNG were able to reach the target in the 16th over with six wickets remaining.
While the defeat is a disappointment for Japan, there were plenty of positive aspects in the performance as the hosts were made to work hard for the win.
Japan take on the Philippines next at 12:30 JST on Wednesday.