Senior Sports Reporter
ALL-ROUNDER Roy Kaia is excited his efforts have paid off after leading Takashinga close to lifting the inaugural National Premier League title.
The Highfield side are set to be crowned champions tomorrow when the curtain comes down on the 45-over tournament.
Takashinga took a healthy lead, at the top of the table, when they completed their fixtures during midweek and chances are slim that second-placed MidWest Rhinos could upstage them because of a superior net run rate.
The Highfield side owe their success to their 29-year-old captain, Kaia, who has been brilliant with both bat and ball, during eight weeks of competition.
“We are already the champions,” he told The Herald on Saturday.
“Takashinga are powerhouses, when it comes to domestic club cricket.
“We knew from the onset that this was going to be a good tournament for us.
“If you look at the statistics, there is no way that we will not be crowned champions. I am very happy for the team.
“We always strive to do everything to perfection.
“There is a lot of talent within our ranks and the commitment from the guys is always top-notch. These are some of the values that we stand for as Takashinga.”
The side, which is coached by its former captain Erick Chauluka, won six of their eight matches.
They took their points tally to 60 when they beat title rivals Amakhosi by 77 runs during the week.
In fact, they could have wrapped up the title race earlier but, a shock defeat to Gladiators last week, derailed their march.
“It was a good feeling winning the last game against Amakhosi because we had so much pressure after that loss to Gladiators.
“I must say I was happy with the way we approached that game.
“It was easy to get distracted but we didn’t focus much on the loss. We managed to motivate each other and get the job done.
“We also considered that it was more of a decider because it was also a must-win for Amakhosi to rekindle their hopes of fighting for the title. So many things were at play,” said Kaia.
The all-rounder ranks among the best performers in this inaugural 45-over tournament.
His 20 wickets place him as the joint highest wicket taker alongside teammate Tapiwa Mufudza and the tournament’s find-of-the-season Tanatswa Bechani of Queens, with one round of matches remaining.
Kaia is also the leading run scorer for Takashinga, and fourth in the tournament, after putting together 241 runs in eight innings.
At some point it was a family affair, with his younger brother, Innocent, who is also among the top 10 batsmen in the tournament with 199 runs under the belt.
“Innocent is such a hard worker. He spends most of his time in the nets practicing his batting skills and this has really helped him.
“Many people referred to him as the young Kaia but he has proved that he is his own man.
“We have been competing to see who scores the most runs and he has been doing well.
“It has helped him mature,” he said.
Kaia started playing cricket at a tender age at Chengu Primary School in Highfield.
He was discovered by Takashinga at the age of 11 and was invited to play in their junior teams.
Kaia is one of the many talented players from Highfield that benefitted from ZC’s cricket development programme after he got a scholarship to continue with his education at Highfield High 1 in 2004.
The former Southern Rocks and Mountaineers man has one national team cap and has also played overseas club cricket in England.
Harare Kings v Queens (Masvingo Sports Club)
Gladiators v Amakhosi (Kwekwe Sports Club)
MidWest v Great Zimbabwe (Old Hararians)
Rainbow v Easterns (Harare Sports Club)