Rain may play in HK's favour if Sixes switches to knockout

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 November, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong will have an edge if no play is possible today and the Sixes is forced into a straight knockout format tomorrow at the Kowloon Cricket Club, said skipper Najeeb Amar.

Organisers of the Karp Group/PC Jeweller Hong Kong Sixes will be praying the weather improves - the forecast today is for intermittent rain which is expected to clear up by tomorrow and there could therefore be two days of action.

But if the rain persists today, then last year's runners-up, Hong Kong, may have the upper hand.

'We have an experienced side, most of whom played last year, and we should be able to get straight into it,' Najeeb said. 'The other sides might take a little bit of time to get going. Also, being accustomed to the conditions, Hong Kong should have a home advantage.'

If the worst-case scenario materialises, the preliminary round would be abandoned and the eight teams would play a knockout format, tournament director Glyn Davies said yesterday.

'I can't predict what the weather will be like, but if it continues to rain and we can only play on Sunday, it will be a knockout competition,' Davies said. 'I don't think there will be a problem getting a tournament together at some stage this weekend.'

If the rain persists, it might result in the eight teams, split between two groups - Australia, England, South Africa and Hong Kong in the Bradman group; and India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand in the Sobers group - playing a quarter-final round followed by semi-finals and the Cup final tomorrow.

'We are okay as long as it stops raining. The pitch and the bowlers' run-up have been covered since Thursday and the KCC outfield drains well. But for play to get under way, we need the rain to go away,' Davies said.

It will be a calamity for the Hong Kong Cricket Association if the weather does not clear up. Breaking even for the tournament depends to some extent on revenue from tickets, and as of yesterday a large number of tickets remained unsold.

The situation has never arisen where the tournament has been washed out. In the year in which the event moved to Hong Kong Stadium, in 1996, play went ahead despite a heavy deluge.

'We have been lucky so far with the weather. But right now, I can't tell you what we will do,' Davies said. 'We might have to draw the teams out of a hat and play a knockout competition on Sunday. I certainly hope it doesn't come to that.'

The game between the Asian Games squads of China and Hong Kong was washed out yesterday at the Hong Kong Cricket Club.