Twenty20 success is all Butt has on his mind

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2008, 12:00am

Little Sai Wan have held sway in the premier Sunday League so far this season, but they will be hard-pressed to continue their dominance in the shorter version of the game - the inaugural Quaid-I-Azam Twenty20 tournament, which gets under way at Mission Road today.

'We are determined to win this,' warned Pakistan Association all-rounder Hussain Butt. 'Sai Wan and Millennium might pose a few problems, but I think we have the best team in the competition.'

Six teams have been split into two groups of three for the first ever local Twenty20 competition.

In pool A is Pakistan Association, Millennium and Kowloon Cricket Club. Pool B comprises Little Sai Wan, Vagabonds and Hong Kong Cricket Club.

The top two teams in each pool move into Sunday's semi-finals. Pool A will be in action today with pool B playing tomorrow.

A purse of HK$25,000 for the winners (runners-up get HK$10,000) will make the action even more competitive. 'The money is not much, but it is a start. More importantly, it will be good fun and we are looking forward to it, especially since the side is at full-strength,' Butt said.

Butt, an explosive batsman, was unavailable to play for Hong Kong when they hosted Bangladesh Academy. But his return along with left-arm spinner Najeeb Amar will boost Pakistan Association.

Skipper Ilyas Gull will also pin his hopes on Mudassar Hussain and kids Waqar Barkat and Gurjant Singh.

Munir Dar will spearhead LSW's bid to maintain their hold on the title.

Dar, who starred with the bat during the Bangladesh visit, is ideally suited for this version of the game and he will have the likes of Ahmed brothers, Nadeem and Irfan, and Zafaran Ali to rely on. 'Our biggest strength is our fielding. We have a young side who are all good fielders,' said Sai Wan skipper Tabarak Dar.

The biggest threat to the independent sides could come from Hong Kong Cricket Club who have picked the cream from their three Sunday League teams - Scorpions, Wanderers and Optimists - to field a side which includes Mark Wright, Imran Idrees, Hugo Davidson, Mark Thwaites and Mark Kratzmann.

The big-hitting Ather Ali will lead a strong Millennium outfit, while Vagabonds will be led by Bruce Borges and Anoop Nainai skippers the Cox's Road Club.