Singapore too good for Fiji but only just
Singapore have staged a remarkable come from behind victory to beat Fiji by two wickets in today's World Cricket League Division 5 match at the Engineering Campus Ground.
Fiji were boosted by the news that East Asia-Pacific fast bowler Sakaraia Lomani was fit and ready to play his first game of the tournament.
The Blues won the toss and elected to bat first which is always somewhat of a risk with matches starting in Kathmandu in cold and foggy conditions at 9.00am. If ever the ball will move about it is at that hour of the day.
But the batsmen were in a much more determined frame of mind than in the previous two matches. Sevoke Ravoka (30), Joe Rika (32), Iniasi Cakacaka (26) and Tavo Sorovakatini (28) were solid contributors.
At one stage Fiji were 143 for 5 and looking at a score of 220 or more but a remarkable collapse that saw four wickets fall for the loss of three runs put paid to that and in the blink of an eye another early finish seemed likely. Then, incredibly, the last pair - Lomani and Viliame Yabaki - put on 48 runs for the last wicket to lift the total to a comparatively respectable 194.
Pramodh Raja was the best of the Singapore bowlers with 4 for 26.
It came as no surprise when Lomani made the first breakthrough, dismissing Chetan Suryawanshi for 19 and then on the next ball he trapped Buddhika Mendis in front. What a difference the addition of a class player makes to a struggling side!
Chandra Rvenkadaramani was run out for 11 in the same Lomani over. Three Singapore wickets had fallen with the score on 33.
Veteran off-spinner Cakacaka lured Anish Param down the wicket and wicketkeeper Maciu Gauna did the rest. For the first time in this tournament Fiji were on top.
Lomani returned and had Riaz Hussein caught behind. The left arm quick finished with 3 for 33 from 10 overs.
Jikoi Kida then took two quick wickets to have Singapore 106 for 7.
Singapore captain Monish Arora held firm however and Fiji could not be certain of victory until he was back in the dressing room. Saad Janjua gave him valuable support. A worrying partnership was building as far as Fiji was concerned. Both batsmen played sensibly as they steadily brought Singapore closer to victory.
The Fijians were running out of options with key bowlers Lomani and Cakacaka having already completed their quota of 10 overs each.
With the score at 162 and Fiji in desperate trouble, 18 year old leg spinner Yabaki removed Janjua leg before wicket for 17. The partnership between he and Arora was worth 56.
With eight wickets down and not much support left, Arora went on the attack in the 46th over, smacking a six and a four from Yabaki's bowling. It was the over Singapore needed. Better still, he was able to snare a single of the last ball to retain the strike.
In the next over he blasted another couple of fours and Singapore were home. It was an amazing solo effort by the Singapore captain. His unbeaten 94 was scored from 133 deliveries and contained 12 fours and 1 six.
So Singapore remain in the hunt for a top two finish. Fiji can be proud that they were able to lift themselves to the brink of victory after a terrible first two days of competition.