IT TOOK Riyad Khan four years before he could play an International Cricket Council tournament with Fiji.
Khan, originally from Sri Lanka, has taken permanent residency in Fiji and played his first ICC event in the East-Asia Pacific Twenty20 Mens Trophy in Lismore.
Fiji finished third with Khan named joint player of the tournament alongside Papua New Guinea batsman Lega Siaka.
Siaka dominated with 256 runs at a strike rate of 191.04 for the tournament.
Khan bowls left arm orthodox and was the leading wicket taker of the tournament, taking 19.
Yesterday he took another three wickets when Fiji had a comfortable nine-wicket win over Japan in a 50-over game at Oakes Oval.
"Why not play cricket?" Khan said.
"I started a new career in Fiji and didn't have to think twice about playing," he said.
"I'd say cricket in Fiji is a developing game with a lot of potential."
The player of the tournament was awarded according to the umpires' votes at the end of each game.
Khan, 37 has about 20 years of cricket experience.
"I've really enjoyed this opportunity and just wanted to do my best," Khan said.
"I took some wickets but I couldn't have done it without my team.
"We had a narrow loss against PNG and we look forward to playing them again."
Teammate Jikoi Vanualevu took five wickets as Japan was bowled out for 103.
It took Fiji just 19 overs to claim a nine-wicket win to be the first team to progress to the 50-over final.
Captain Josefa Rika opened the batting and was unbeaten on 63.
Elsewhere, Samoa had a convincing 146-run win over the Philippines at Mortimer Oval.
Samoan opener Fred Sapatu scored 133 not out as his side was bowled out for 247.
Syed Tariq Ali was the pick of the bowlers for the Philippines, taking four wickets.
The final will be at Oakes Oval today at 10am, with the winner earning a place in the World Cricket League Division 6 competition.
At Oakes Oval: Fiji v Japan
- Japan 103 all out, 40 overs (P Kale 46; J Kida 5-21, R Khan 3-13)
- Fiji 1-104, 19 overs (J Rika 63*, G Smith 32*)
- Fiji won by 9 wickets
- Man of the Match: Jikoi Kida Vanualevu (Fiji)
At Mortimer Oval: Samoa v Philippines
- Samoa 247 all out, 4 overs (F Sapatu 133*, S Cotter 32; S Tariq Ali 4-36, R Thakur 3-41)
- Philippines 101, 30.4 overs (H Ahuja 40, D Burgess 3-13, M Maiava 2-6)
- Samoa won by 146 runs
- Man of the Match: Fred Sapatu (Samoa)
TEAM OF THE TWENTY20 TOURNAMENT
Lega Siaka (PNG), Tony Ura (PNG), Jonathon Dunn (Vanuatu), Assadollah Vala (PNG), Mahuru Dai (PNG), Ben Mailata (Samoa), Sekove Ravoka (Fiji), Patrick Matautaava (Vanuatu), Willie Gavera (PNG), Jelany Chilia (Vanuatu) and Viliame Manakitoga (Fiji)
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