The beautiful island state of Vanuatu has been one of the first countries to reintroduce cricket to the world, and their unique T10 League comes to a conclusion on June 13.
Yes, this is one of the first cricket competitions in the world to use a T10 format, so the action is as high in intensity as you could imagine – every single ball counts in this frantic version of the sport.
Sharks show their teeth
The final game to take place at the Vanuatu Cricket Ground sees the Ifira Sharks take on the MT Bulls for the third time. Having won both of their meetings so far, the Sharks will be determined to make it a perfect hat-trick. The Bulls, of course, will be hoping for revenge.
In truth, both teams have been in the shadow of the Mighty Efate Panthers, who have won four of their six games. And so the battle between the Bulls and the Sharks is to see who finishes second. While the Sharks boast that head-to-head advantage, the Bulls have the better net run rate from the competition.
The Sharks will be hoping for economic performances from their key bowlers, with Obed Yoseph and Nalin Nipiko doing a sterling effort in restricting their opponents to a run rate of six per over or less for most of the competition. The Sharks’ bowling unit has so far failed to concede 100 or more runs in a single innings.
The issue is with their batting. Only twice has one of their batsmen scored 30 or more – that was Nipiko on both occasions. That lack of depth opens the door for the Bulls, and especially so if Yoseph doesn’t fire with the new ball.
A clash of styles
What makes this so appetising as a contest, is that the Bulls have tended to have the opposite problem – they can run up some decent totals with the willow in hand. But restricting their opponents when in the field is a whole different matter entirely.
Time and time again the Bulls have lost the game due to their profligate bowling attack. The Panthers ran up a total of 128/5 in the competition’s opener; an almost unassailable total in this form of cricket, and in four of their five outings to date they have conceded 90 runs or more. That makes life rather difficult for their capable batsmen.
And yet, they have remained competitive throughout. Andrew Mansale has been a revelation with the bat, blasting 169 runs in five innings to almost single-handedly drag his side to glory. Even when he hasn’t fired, the likes of Clement Tommy, Philip Tsione, and Patrick Matautaava have all passed the 25 mark.
Too close to call
All of which adds up to a fascinating contest. If Nipiko can put a decent score on the board for the Sharks, they have the power and the guile within their bowling attack to pressure the Bulls batting line-up into making some costly errors.
But on the flipside, this Bulls side is blessed with firepower throughout their top five. You could make a case that once they have seen off the threat of Yoseph early on the likes of Mansale and Tommy can make hay.
This has all the hallmarks of a classic ‘coin toss’ game as far as finding a winner is concerned but, based on the evidence so far, a case can be made for the MT Bulls to finally get their revenge on the Ifira Sharks at the final time of asking.
Whatever you bet on, enjoy the Vanuatu T10 League final and don’t forget that our prices are subject to fluctuation. Please check Royal Panda sports betting for the most up-to-date odds.