Mighty Efate Panthers
One of the out-of-town contingent, Josh Rasu hails from the northern island of Malo, off the coast of the archipelago’s largest island Espiritu Santo. And in addition to the VCA’s help in distributing supplies to the Cyclone-ravaged north, Rasu’s eye-catching performances in Port Vila have given fans back home something to cheer as they recover from the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold, which severely affected their region of Vanuatu.
In group play for the Panthers, Rasu led from the front. The Panthers skipper heads the BetBarter Vanuatu Blast MVP leaderboard, with 133 runs at a strike rate of 211 as well as taking the most wickets with 9. His batting exploits are no surprise, having made the opener’s position his own since his debut back in 2013 against Ghana during Vanuatu’s successful WCL7 campaign in Botswana. As might be expected for a man whose cricketing hero is Brendon McCullum, he is a powerful striker of the ball, adept at stepping forward to the spinners and clearing the front leg to launch them through the arc. He also possesses a deftness of touch that belies his strength, able to guide the quicker men behind square on the offside.
As a bowler, he has been a surprise packet, as he scalped the only hat-trick of the tournament so far against the Ifira Sharks. The milestone shows that Rasu’s efforts at improving his bowling have borne fruit, with his skiddy spinners ideally suited to the slightly tacky surface of the hybrid wicket.
Still only 26, but a key member of the national team, Rasu’s experience at the top of the order has been bolstered by stints at club sides in New Zealand, the Netherlands, and despite an aversion to snakes, Australia – where he joined VCA CEO Shane Dietz’s former club the Southern District Stingrays.