5 Feb 2013

Sport: Assad Vala lights up T20 Champs

11:34 am on 5 February 2013

Assad Vala has continued his extraordinary form with the bat as Papua New Guinea hit top gear at the East Asia-Pacific Men's T20 Cricket Championship in Auckland.

The Barramundi's thrashed Indonesia by an astonishing 197 runs before beating rivals Vanuatu by 30 runs to surge to make it three wins from three.

Opener Vala, who was a part of the Brisbane Heat's wider squad for the Big Bash tournament, plundered 157 not out off just 64 balls as PNG amassed a whopping 267 for 2 from their 20 overs, before dismissing Indonesia for just 70.

In the afternoon match, Vala picked up where he left off, hitting a further 71 from 40 balls against second-ranked Vanuatu, but despite his heroics was keen to deflect the praise.

"I'm pretty happy with the way I batted and I'm happy with the score I got but it's about the team winning the match and I'm happy to help the team post a big total."

Elsewhere, Fiji recorded big wins over Japan and the Cook Islands on day two and are actually above PNG on the standings on net run-rate.

Vanuatu beat Samoa in their other match and Japan won the battle of bottom teams, beating Indonesia by eight wickets.

The tournament takes a break on Tuesday and Fiji skipper Jo Rika says a day off has come at the right time.

We've got to take it a game at a time. We've got a few injuries with the squad at the moment - things we've got to get over. With the break coming up should be good for us but hopefully we've got a good momentum going in that will take us through to the end.