As it happened: DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz – Day Two
Hung Hom JD Jaguars take on HKI United first up while Galaxy Gladiators Lantau face City Kaitak
Watch: Galaxy Gladiators Lantau versus City Kaitak
4:55pm: City Kaitak beat Galaxy Gladiators Lantau by six wickets. Easy win for City Kaitak with Tillakaratne Dilshan laying the foundations with his 38 and captain Aizaz Khan contributing 36. Gareth Harte helped out with 23 as Kaitak scored 158 for four in 15.2 overs, overhauling Gladiators’ 155 for nine. That’s one win for Kaitak from two matches while Gladiators have suffered two straight defeats.
Quotes: Anshuman Rath (Gladiators captain) – “It is an amazing experience to play with and captain players like Kumar Sangakkara. There’s so much to learn from them. Everything they say is gold dust. We lost two but now we can play with some freedom and hopefully the young guys will step up.”
Tillakaratne Dilshan (City Kaitak) – “It was good to get the win today after we lost yesterday. It’s been a good tournament so far and it’s good to be in Hong Kong. Things like that always happen in cricket [duck yesterday and 38 runs today].”
Thanks for tuning in today, and thanks especially to our Indian readers who are following the tournament even though there are no Indian players in the Blitz. We’ll be back tomorrow with two more matches.
— Kowloon Cantons (@KowloonCantons) March 8, 2017
4:27pm: Afridi’s best wishes: Shahid Afridi has sent his Kowloon Cantons teammates best wishes and apologised for not being able to come to Hong Kong, either as a player or mentor because of a hand injury playing for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League. “Sorry I couldn’t be with you because of my injury but inshaAllah I’ll see you next year,” says Afridi, vowing to play in next year’s tournament.
3:50pm: Finally we get to see Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a six. Interesting to see Gladiators’ Kumar Sangakkara keeping against City Kaitak’s Dilshan. Both played key roles in Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup win of 2014. “United by nation, divided by team,” says Pramod. He’s quite proud of that line.
Update: Could have been Dilshan out, caught Sangakkara. We heard the snick, the Gladiators players heard the snick, and probably even Dilshan heard the snick. But the umpire didn’t so no reason to walk. Dilshan hits a four off the next ball.
3:34pm: Galaxy Gladiators Lantau score 155 for nine in their 20 overs with Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath once again leading the way with 42. Courtney Kruger was the second-highest scorer at 32 while Kumar Sangakarra hit 21. But one suspects it won’t be enough on this ground against a strong batting team such as City Kaitak, with Chris Jordan ready to blast way. But stranger things have happened. Pramod called that big ferris wheel in Central the Observation Wheel. We laughed condescendingly until a Google search revealed that it is, indeed, called that. Still we laugh condescendingly.
3:20pm: Canary morph: City Kaitak owner Alok Jain was walking around town in his team’s bright canary yellow team kit. And he’s proud of that. In the battle of the uniforms, City Kaitak’s eye-bashing strip has certainly split opinion. It rivals Hung Hom JD Jaguars’ luminescent pink outfit for brightness and Jain himself hopes they have won the battle. “It’s the colour we wanted. We did a lot of research when we decided on the colour,” he said. “It’s the colour of the sun. It’s bright, just look at that board when our colours come up,” said Jain pointing to the digital advertising hoards, which indeed shone in shocking yellow. “We are absolutely happy with our colour. I was walking around Hong Kong with it. It was great.” At least someone is.
2:45: Miles ahead: Cricket Hong Kong president Rodney Miles believes Twenty20 cricket has done wonders for the game overall and is delighted Hong Kong can be part of the global T20 revolution. The DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz has attracted a host of big-name players for a five-day extravaganza and so far the action has been non-stop. “It’s fantastic to see T20 tgake place in Hong Kong and all credit to those involved,” said Miles. “To see the number of superstars here is quite remarkable. T20 has definitely changed the game for the better, right across the spectrum from tests to ODIs and so on. It has accelerated the speed of scoring, improved fielding no end and has made bowling very different. It’s working throughout the whole game.”
2pm: Zac in the saddle: Hong Kong-based Australian jockey Zac Purton is among the cricket-loving fans who are enjoying the Hong Kong T20 Blitz action at Mission Road. Purton, who has won Group One races aboard Aerovelocity and Dominant, among others, was looking dapper and relaxed as he watched the matches from the marquee tents. “I enjoy playing cricket and enjoying watching as well,” said Purton. “T20 is big in Australia with the Big Bash League and it’s good to come out here and have a look at some of the big-name players. Cricket Hong Kong has done a good job. I used to be a medium-fast bowler. When I was younger, I played quite a bit but I was only a little bit taller than the wickets. I’ve grown since then but not that much.”
1:20pm: Hong Kong Island United beat Hung Hom JD Jaguars by 33 runs. Captain Misbal-ul-Haq’s late flurry of four sixes and one four proved decisive as HKI’s 216 for six proved too much for Hung Hom JD Jaguars, who totalled 183 for eight. “That last over was important but it was also important that we play out all the overs,” said Misbah. Beaten Jaguars captain Kinchit Shah said: “Yeah, that last over was pretty much decisive.” Jaguars now have one win and a loss from two games. On Wednesday, they beat Galaxy Gladiators Lantau by 27 runs.
Next up is the Gladiators against City Kaitak. Both teams lost on Wednesday so defeat for either today will seriously affect their chances of reaching the final on Sunday.
12:50: Fresh spin: Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal, representing Hong Kong Island United, is hoping that tournaments like the Hong Kong T20 Blitz can help him return to the national set-up. A mixture of injury and bowling action has seen the 39-year-old being left out of the Pakistan team but he has figured in the recent Pakistan Super League for Islamabad United and said defiantly when offered the chance of a farewell charity match: “I have no intention to quit.” Off-spinner Ajmal hasn’t played test cricket since 2014 and his last T20 match for Pakistan was in April 2015 against Bangladesh.
12:25pm: Who’s scared of BCCI? Pramod Ananth, of India’s cricketcountry.com, offers some interesting insights about the whole Yusuf Pathan episode in which the Indian player was originally given an NOC (approval) by India’s cricket governing body BCCI to play for Kowloon Cantons before it was abruptly cancelled. Pathan would have been the first male Indian contracted player to be allowed to play in an international T20 tournament apart from the Indian Premier League until the BCCI revoked the NOC. Pramod, initially reluctant to talk against the BCCI until we called him a chicken, said: “I don’t understand it, Yusuf Pathan is a good player but it’s not like he was fighting his way back to the national team, so I don’t see why he couldn’t play.” Well said, Pramod.
12:05pm: Hat-trick hero: Hong Kong’s Hung Hom JD Jaguar player Ashley Caddy has had an eventful tournament so far, taking a hat-trick on the first day against Galaxy Gladiators Lantau before being slammed by Misbah-ul-Haq for four straights sixes and a four today against HKI United. But the 30-year-old is loving the experience of playing in a tournament with world-class internationals. “I was just hoping to get a dot ball,” said Caddy, of his hat-trick delivery. “I was on the floor I didn’t even see it.” Caddy took the successive wickets of Courtney Kruger Azim Rafeeq and Mohammad Awais as he helped restrict Gladiators to 118 for a 27-run win.
11:51: HKI’s Ian Bell is not taking to the field against Hung Hom JD Jaguars. He was seen walking gingerly towards the HKI marquee, so definitely something up there. Bell scored five runs in HKI’s innings before being out LBW. No word on what’s wrong with the England player but HKI have plenty of cover, it appears.
Update: Bell’s right thigh appeared strapped and he’s walking with a limp. Doesn’t seem like he can play anytime soon but no official word yet.
11:31: Misbah Magic: Hong Kong Island United’s Misbah-ul-Haq doing exactly what he was brought down to do, as he hit a towering six – his third of the innings – to reach his half-century off 32 balls. Misbah is also captain of Pakistan Super League side Islamabad United, the 2016 PSL champions. Islamabad and HKI are sister clubs. Or should that be brother clubs?
And there’s more!: Misbah then goes on to his four successive sixes off the final over as HKI total 216 for six in 20 overs. Misbah top-scored for his team with 82 off 37 balls, with Muhammad Ahmed making 42. On Wednesday, centurion Dwayne Smith said a par score on this ground is about 220 to 230. So do HKI have enough?
11:19am: Come on feel the noise: It’s not Highway to Hell, neither is it a vuvuzela (ala Fifa World Cup South Africa), but it makes just as much noise. These horns are shrill and loud and we’re probably going to hear a lot of them over the next four days of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz. 12-year-old Mudassar Khan (pictured), from Delia Memorial School, is liberal in his use of the instrument. And why not? It’s better than some of the monotonous house music (don’t really need the word “monotonous” in front of “house music”) being played at the ground. “It’s called a whistle,” says Mudassar, a supporter of Kowloon Cantons, who are not playing on Thursday.
10:59: Mentor’s mentor: Farooq Saeed, a former Hong Kong cricket and hockey captain, is the mentor for the Hung Hom JD Jaguar team but he said it is actually a learning experience for him, especially with West Indian World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy around. “I’ve been hanging around with Sammy and you just learn so much. He told me that he would never drop his best player even if he was having a poor run because he will come back after three or four matches and be a match-winner. Sammy’s a nice guy, very keen and you are always learning from him.”
10:33: plugged in: Pramod Ananth, from India’s cricketcountry.com, is back. He’s a bit more organised today. On Wednesday he turned up thinking he could plug into Hong Kong electric sockets with the rounded plug pins they use in India. Clearly didn’t do his research. Today, however, he is armed with an adapter and won’t be seen running around after his laptop’s power has gone looking for power supplies.
10:26: HKI United’s Ian Bell is out, the first wicket to fall on the second day. He fell LBW to Mohammad Naveed for 5. He was soon followed to the pavilion by George Munsey, caught Johan Botha and bowled by one of Hong Kong’s stars of Wednesday, Ashley Caddy. Caddy nabbed a hat-trick of wickets for Jaguars against Galaxy Gladiators Lantau in one of the highlights of the day that was somewhat overshadowed by Dwayne Smith’s 121 not out off 40 balls.
10:14am: Dwayne Smith, not Darren Sammy: Cricket Hong Kong’s CEO Tim Cutler said on Wednesday when asked to sum up day one: “How can you not mention Dwayne Smith? But from a Hong Kong point of view, I’m just as pleased to see Anshuman out-bat Sangakkara as well as Ashley Caddy’s hat-trick [for Jaguars].” He did not say “Darren Sammy” despite what the newspapers say. More housekeeping from Thursday’s paper. The main picture is of City Kaitak’s Scottish player Kyle Coetzer, and not James Franklin, as published. Apologies to Kyle. You both look alike, apart from the yellow and pink uniforms.
10am: Livin’ easy, livin’ free, season ticket on a one-way ride (drum roll). Well, here we are, another day of angry clouds hovering ahead but play is possible on time as Hung Hom JD Jaguars win the toss and choose to bowl against Misbah-ul-Haq’s Hong Kong Island United. Pakistan test captain Misbah, making his Hong Kong debut, says: “It’s always exciting to play in a tournament like this. The ground is a bit small and looking forward to scoring some runs. There were some exciting matches yesterday and it was good to share the dressing room with some great T20 players and young Hong Kong players.”