Caption: Kida on his way to five wickets in Fiji’s win over Japan in Lismore today. (Photo credit: Adam Cassidy).
Fiji and Samoa will face off at Oakes Oval tomorrow, to see which team will be the next to represent the East-Asia Pacific region in World Cricket League Division 6. Fiji had an easy nine-wicket win over Japan in the first semi-final of the 50-over competition in Lismore today.
Fiji, who finished top of the teams still in the running to qualify for World Cricket League Division 6, took on Japan, who qualified in fourth position. Winning the toss, Japan elected to bat, but had a horror start to the innings when their captain, Amigo Kobayashi, was struck in the ribs by a slow full toss from big Fijian opening bowler, Viliame Mana, on the first ball. He was carried from the ground, and taken to hospital for medical attention.
The show had to go on, and Kobayashi’s counterpart, Prashant Kale, did his fallen captain proud at the crease, standing his ground until the 30thover, amassing 46 runs. Wickets fell around him however, with Fijian spinner Riyad Khan once again creating havoc, taking 3-13, and Jikoi Vanualevu Kida also chimed in with a Man of the Match performance, with figures of 5-21.
Japan were buoyed by the miraculous return of their captain to the crease, officially cleared of any injury, but unfortunately the wickets continued to fall around him, and Japan were dismissed for 103 runs in the 41st over.
It looked as if it would be an easy chase for Fiji, but Japanese opening bowler, Tsuyoshi Takada had other ideas, dismissing Fijian opener, Makutu Seru, early. This didn’t phase Giles Smith however, joining Fiji captain, Joe Rika at the crease for an 100-run partnership, and an easy nine-wicket win for Fiji.
Rika finished with a match high score of 63 unbeaten runs, whilst Smith was also unbeaten on 32.
At the conclusion of the match, Rika said whilst it was a good day for his team, they were still one win away from what they had come to Lismore to do.
“Our goal this whole time has been to qualify for re-entry into World Cricket League Division 6, so we will still have a tough game ahead of ustomorrow if we want to do that.”
Fiji will take on Samoa for a spot in World Cricket League Division 6 tomorrow, with play commencing at 10am local time.