Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2017

As it happened: DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz – Day One

Relive the first day of Hong Kong’s very own international T20 tournament from the Mission Road cricket ground

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 March, 2017, 11:29am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 March, 2017, 10:17am

Day 2 is underway — Click here for live streaming and commentary

Commentary

The day started with rain and ended with fireworks. Organisers must be happy with the first day of the 2017 DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz. The crowd of about 200 certainly got what they paid for, with plenty of sixes and drama, particularly in the second match. So, victories for Hung Hom JD Jaguars and Kowloon Cantons. The ground is looking good but dark clouds still threaten. Hopefully it would have cleared up by Thursday, when Hong Kong Island United make their 2017 debut against the Jaguars in the first match followed by Gladiators taking on City Kaitak. Read the full report here.

Dwayne Smith’s century lights up Hong Kong T20 Blitz

Cantons on fire: Who would have thought. Chasing 199 is never easy. But 28 from the first over and Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels taking over. Big day for West Indian players at the Hong Kong T20 Blitz. Smith finishes on 121 not out off 40 balls and Samuels a lazy 63 from 33 balls. An emphatic eight-wicket victory for Cantons. Highway to Hell is on again ... sigh. Phil Rudd DOESN’T DO drum rolls.

CENTURY: That’s a hundred for Kowloon Cantons’ Dwayne Smith. An amazing innings that makes City Kaitak’s total of 199 seem like child’s play, though they are not there yet. It’s the first century in the Hong Kongt T20 Blitz and came in 31 balls. That’s the second fastest in history, though it’s not an official ICC tournament so won’t count in the record books. Smith so far has 13 sixes. That’s the same number of sixes City Kaitak managed in their entire innings.

New balls please: Organisers are trying to keep count of lost balls after some big hitting by players such as James Franklin, Darren Sammy, Kyle Coetzer, Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels, among others. Certainly people passing by Mission Road ground need to be alert to the rain of white cricket balls.

Fifty-something: Dwayne Smith hit his 50 off 16 balls. About 10 years ago and that would have been a world record. As it is, the record remains 12 balls for India's Yuvraj Singh and West Indies’ Chris Gayle. Smith can still go for fastest century. Pramod knows everything about cricket. Let’s not talk about Phil Rudd...

Smashing Smith: In Avengers, Ironman tells Loki that “We have a hulk”. Kowloon Cantons can say the same thing, in the form of big West Indian Dwayne Smith. The powerful Smith hit four sixes and a four as the Cantons started their chase of a daunting 199 with 28 off the first over. The chase is on. The Cantons marquee is suddenly all celebration. Who needs Afridi, Mills et al?

3:36pm: Kyle Coetzer is out for 87. That’s the highest individual score of the tournament so far. He looked on course for a century but fell short. A fine innings also for Coetzer’s partner in smashing the bowlers, Chris Jordan, who scored 75 as City Kaitak totalled a challenging 199 for six in their 20 overs. It’s going to be a tough chase for the Cantons.

3:22pm, 50 for Kyle: Kyle Coetzer insists he has a Scottish accent. “I was born and raised in Scotland,” said Coetzer. Well, he let his bat do the talking on Wednesday, reaching his half-century for City Kaitak as she and England’s Chris Jordan, who also hit a splendid fifty, rescued their side’s innings.

Off beat: Officials here at Mission Road are reluctant to comment on the controversial Phil Rudd and Highway to Hell issue, muttering things such as “relevance to T20” and “Phil who?”. Well, they played the song. Hiding something for sure.

No Afridi: No sooner had Kowloon Cantons praised Shahid Afridi for agreeing to come to Hong Kong despite being injured during the Pakistan Super League, it turns out the great all-rounder won’t be arriving after all. Afridi was due to act as team mentor after the right-hand injury that required 12 stitches ruled him out of playing. However, according to a Cantons official, the stitches have opened up, he is in pain and is unable to travel. Tough times for Cantons, let’s hope things improve for them on the field.

Giving face: The look for the tournament so far from Kowloon Cantons wicketkeeper Shahid Wasif. His ice hockey face mask lasted only a few overs and once he took it off, he managed a spectular low catch to dismiss City Kaitak’s Nicholas Pooran. The grainy nature of the image is deliberate to enhance the haunting look.

2:17pm: That's Tillakaratne Dilshan, owner of the Dilscoop and one of the biggest drawcards of the tournament, out LBW very early in the second match. Many years ago, West Indies great Viv Richards was in Hong Kong playing a friendly match. However, his innings was cut short by an enthusiastic local bowler, who is probably even now telling his grandchildren about the time he bowled the great Viv Richards. Anyway, as soon as Big Viv’s wicket fell, a disgruntled fan from the stands shouted: “Hey, we didn’t come to see you bowl, we came to see Viv Richards bat!” Just saying.

1:50pm: That’s the first result of the 2017 tournament. Hung Hom JD Jaguars have beaten Gladiators Galaxy Lantau by 27 runs after a fantastic batting performance by Darren Sammy and James Franklin. But let’s not forget Hong Kong’s own Anshuman Rath, who led the way for the chasing Gladiators with 45.

Kowloon Cantons captain Babar Hayat has won the toss for the second match against City Kaitak. Hayat has decided to bowl first. “It’s a small ground and we think we would like to chase,” he said. Kaitak captain Aizaz captain: “We are very excited to have our overseas players and we’ve been training hard. It’s a good atmosphere here and good to be here.”

Yellow fellow: This fan is rocking a City Kaitak canary yellow uniform. It seems the TV commentators are taken up by the Kaitak colours, more than the Jagaurs’ pink. Pramod is partial to the red of Hong Kong Island United. He knows a lot about cricket, Pramod, but little about Phil Rudd’s drumming.

Highway to nowhere: A Google search of “Does Phil Rudd do drum rolls on Highway to Hell” fails to shed light on what version of the song was played earlier today at the ground. Pramod from cricketcountry.com in India is of no help whatsoever. “I just heard Highway to Hell.”

Pretty in pink: The Jaguars’ very un-Jaguar-like luminescent pink jersey must take the prize as the most striking uniform of the tournament. Much more interesting than the Gladiators’ staid black (it is black, right?). City Kaitak’s canary yellow is may be trying a bit too hard. They look like Mark Taylor-Australians lost in a time warp.

12:47: Despite a wet start, the Jaguars put on a great show and provided a fantastic launchpad for the 2017 Hong Kong T20 Blitz. The skies are still heavy with cloud but appear to be holding back. But for now, play is possible and looking forward to the Gladiators innings, featuring Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara, Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath and New Zealand’s Jesse Ryder, among others.

12:40: A wonderful flourish by New Zealand’s James Franklin and West Indian Darren Sammy. After losing some early wickets, the Jaguars close on 145 for three with both stars reaching their half-centuries. Franklin hit 58 off 26 balls with five sixes and Sammy 52 off 19 also with six sixes. Their partnership was worth 102 runs in only six overs. Tough ask for Gladiators but it is T20. Anything can happen.

12:34: It’s 11 overs a side. Not 12. Thanks Pramod.

12:28pm: A very bleary-eyed Cricket Hong Kong CEO Tim Cutler has arrived after a trip from Dubai, but is quickly woken up by the action provided by James Franklin and Darren Sammy along with a loud and healthy crowd. “I’m over the moon to see this many people here on a Wednesday and hopefully the weather will be good and give Hong Kong the best chance to see world-class cricket in their own back yard.”

12:14pm: Crowd goes wild as World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy comes out to bat for Jaguars. Still trying to work out who it was drumming during Highway to Hell.

Meet Pramod Ananth (pictured), from Bangalore, India. Journalist for cricketcountry.com. “Hong Kong is developing into a strong associate member and I wanted to see for myself the progress. It’s also a good chance to see renown international cricketers.” Welcome Pramod and it’s good to see journalists from a major cricket nation like India, who won’t release any of their players by the way, covering the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.

11:54am: Well, that’s the first wicket of the tournament. Jaguars’ Nizakat Khan caught and bowled by Azeem Rafiq for two.

11:49am: Teams are out in the middle. Gladiators have won the toss and will bowl. It’s 12 overs a team. First ball coming up.

11:46: AC/DC’s Highway to Hell now playing on the tannoy as kids take to the field for a pre-tournament hit-around. It’s certainly not Phil Rudd drumming, too many drum rolls. But Bon Scott singing. Still trying to work this out.

11:43am: Gladiators’ Sri Lankan star Kumar Sangakkara apparently just arrived this morning and is straight from the airport to the ground. That’s either commendable commitment or dodgy scheduling.

11:23am: You want to find water in the Sahara Desert? Then hit a tee shot from the top of a sand dune. Want to make it rain in Hong Kong? Then stage an international Twenty20 tournament.

Just like in the inaugural year, rain has beset the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz but the covers are now almost off close to 90 minutes since the scheduled start of play, though heavy rain clouds hang menacingly above the ground.

Hung Hom JD Jaguars, led by West Indies’ World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy, are set to take on Kumar Sangakkara’s Galaxy Gladiators Lantau in the first match. This will be followed by City Kaitak versus Kowloon Cantons. All weather permitting, of course.

There’s about 200 people at the ground, up to 50 of them spectators while the rest are officials and young volunteers. No word on when play is scheduled to start but the Jaguars and Gladiators are out on the field warming up.