Hong Kong T20 Blitz

Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath earns praise from Kumar Sangakkara in Gladiators triumph

The two batsmen help their team to a first victory by beating HKI United by 18 runs; Hung Hom JD Jaguars beat Kowloon Cantons

PUBLISHED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 8:52pm
UPDATED : Friday, 10 March, 2017, 10:10pm

Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara praised Hong Kong all-rounder Anshuman Rath after the pair helped Galaxy Gladiators Lantau to their first victory of the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz at Mission Road on Friday.

In the second match, Hung Hom JD Jaguars returned to winning ways with a 18-run victory over Kowloon Cantons that takes them to the top of the five-team table.

Sangakkara, a T20 World Cup winner, scored 70 not out and Galaxy captain Rath hit an unbeaten 50 as they beat a strong Hong Kong Island United side by eight wickets, reviving their tournament after two straight defeats.

Rath finally converted a good start into a half-century having had scores in the 40s over his previous two innings and Sangakkara hailed the Hong Kong player’s batting.

“I think he’s a fantastic player,” said Sangakkara, who has collected 12,400 test runs and more than 14,200 one-day runs in a stellar career. “He batted beautifully, he’s good against spin and pace. He looks really solid and very impressive.”

Rath said Sangakkara has been guiding him along during the tournament but the Sri Lankan refused to take credit.

“Nothing much,” said Sangakkara when asked what advice he had given Rath. “When something is not broke, don’t fix it. He’s batting really well, just let him bat.”

HKI scored 177 for seven in their 20 overs, captain Misbah-ul-Haq once again opening up in the final two overs to blast 84 not out. Misbah, who scored 82 on Thursday, has yet to be dismissed.

With Jesse Ryder contributing a 23-ball 41, Gladiators scored 178 for two with one over remaining.

“The bowlers put in a good effort to restrict them and we batted smart rather than recklessly,” said Rath. “Jesse got off to a flier and then myself and Sanga rotated the strike and we got the score.

“It’s definitely a relief. It all came together. They are a great team but we had a set plan and we executed it fantastically.”

In the second match, Johan Botha starred with a top-scoring 65 and then bowled a rare maiden in the first over – against big-hitting Dwayne Smith – to help Jaguars defeat Cantons.

Jaguars totalled 164 for nine, which didn’t look to be enough against a line-up that featured Wednesday’s centurion Smith and Marlon Samuels. But Smith fell for 10 and Samuels for 22 as Cantons posted 146 for seven in their 20 overs.

“They didn’t score off the first 10 balls and it became a different game,” said man-of-the-match Botha. “That was important for us because we didn’t really post a big score.”