Gul confident of Cup glory

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 12:00am

High-flying Pakistan Association will go all out to complete the double this season when they take on HKCC Scorpions in the Sunday Cup final at the Hong Kong Cricket Club today.

With their batsmen in awesome form, the Pakistanis have the edge despite having lost on both previous occasions to Scorpions in the league competition this season. The League champions hammered a Sunday Cup record score of 449 for three in the semi-finals against KCC Wasps last week. The week before they scored a scintillating 399 for three against Optimists in the first round. Both matches ended in crushing wins for the Pakistanis.

'Our batting has clicked in the last couple of games and I'm very confident that we can add the Cup to our League victory,' Pakistan Association skipper Ilyas Gul said.

Last Sunday's record-breaking run-spree also included the highest ever partnership set in local cricket, with Hussain Butt and Nasir Hameed getting together to figure in a massive 392-run stand for the fourth wicket. Butt ended unbeaten on 219 while Hameed was 149 not out. Butt also scored an unbeaten ton against Wasps the week earlier and has scored 325 runs without being dismissed.

'They have a powerful batting lineup which is in form presently. Scores of 399 and 449 are pretty scary. But we will be trying to put their batsmen under pressure. The key will be to bowl dot balls at them,' Scorpions captain Adam Smith said. Scorpions reached the final with a one-wicket win over Little Sai Wan in the first round and a 29-run victory over KCC Hornets in the semis.

The first four batsmen in the Pakistan Association line-up, openers Mohammed Tahir and Hameed, one-drop Gul and then Butt have all scored tons in the past fortnight. With Najeeb Amar and Ifthikar Ahmed to follow at five and six, they have an imposing look about them. But the absence of veteran Saleem Malik and the fact that the Scorpions have the psychological advantage, might still prove to be a decisive factor today. However, the Pakistanis will not put all their eggs in the batting bag. With left-arm paceman Khalid Khan, Butt and spinner Amar around, the bowling also has bite.

'We will have to be at our best on Sunday if we want to win something this season. Last season we were going for the double and were denied it. Hopefully the reverse will happen this time and we will win the Cup,' Smith said.

Lamma CC won the Saturday League title after they defeated DBS by four wickets at Mission Road yesterday. Chasing 185 for an outright victory to ensure the title, Lamma scored 185 for six with eight balls to spare. Mark Burns led the way with a top-score of 69. Earlier Hussain Butt had taken six for 69 in the DBS innings.