Suva Capitals have clinched Fiji's Elite Player League (EPL) title, thanks to Jikoi Kida s star turn in the deciding match against Sigatoka Dunes in Nadi on Saturday. The title was on the line with all three league sides in with a chance depending on the result of the game. The Capitals emerged winners after sneaking home in the low-scoring game that put them ahead of Western Bulldogs on run-rate.
The Dunes got off to a good start and, at 49 for 1 after ten overs, looked good to post a formidable score. Kida, however, changed the complexion of proceedings when he removed Sekove Ravoka for a patient 27, in the process triggering a collapse. He proceeded to wreck the Dunes innings, claiming 7 for 26 in his ten overs. Joe Rika, looking for much-important match practice prior to his stint with the East Asia Pacific representative team in Australia, gave the innings stability with a number of impressive drives on his way to 44. When Kida found his way through Rika s defences, the innings folded up for 132.
The Capitals response looked set to follow the same pattern with Omid Saberi and Sekove Vouvou putting on a 38-run opening stand before Saberi followed up a couple of slashed drives with an ambitious loft to be caught off the bowling of Viliame Yabaki. The Dunes stayed in the hunt thanks to a spell of tight spin from Yabaki and Malcolm Bossley where five wickets fell at regular intervals. The game was in the balance when Bossley sent back Kida at 79 for 5. The Dunes had to restrict the Capitals to less than 105 to win the tournament on run-rate. However, their hopes were shattered by the lower-order efforts of Greg Browne, Tanveer Shah and Peni Rika who ensured that their side sealed a three-wicket victory in 40 overs.
Cricket Fiji will shortly announce a National Training Squad for the World Cricket League Division 5 tournament to be hosted in Nepal, with players selected based on their EPL performances.