Hong Kong T20 Blitz

A Hong Kong century to treasure – Kyle Coetzer leads City Kaitak as reigning champs Cantons triumph

The Scot scores 100 in their victory over Hong Kong Island United while Wahab Riaz takes four wickets for last year’s winners

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 8:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 February, 2018, 10:42pm

Kyle Coetzer had always wanted to score a century in Hong Kong, especially after he fell 13 runs short in last year’s Hong Kong T20 Blitz.

The Scot put on a man-of-the-match performance as City Kaitak bounced back from their defeat on Tuesday to beat Hong Kong Island United by 26 runs at Mission Road on Wednesday.

In the second match of the day, defending champions Kowloon Cantons defeated Galaxy Gladiators Lantau by 31 runs thanks to a strong performance in the field.

The 33-year-old Aberdeen-born Coetzer scored 100 as Kaitak scored a challenging 195 in their 20 overs before restricting United to 169 for nine. Kaitak lost to Hung Hom JD Jaguars on the opening day, scoring only 132 runs with Coetzer out for two.

But he made up for that disappointment on Wednesday, hitting three sixes and 13 fours off 65 deliveries to fuel Kaitak. England’s Ravi Bopara scored 48 off 30 balls and Hong Kong player Anshuman Rath hit 35 for Kaitak.

“I’m very proud to score my first T20 century in Hong Kong,” said Coetzer, who had a highest score of 87 in the 2017 Blitz but was unable to reach his century. “I was on 99 for a while and missed five or six balls but I was really happy that I could make my first T20 century in Hong Kong.”

Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate was United’s most successful bowler with three wickets for 42 runs. United’s 2.16m Pakistani giant Mohammad Irfan was fearsome at times but gave away 34 runs in his four overs.

The victory was crucial Kaitak, who have revived their hopes of reaching the final and at least emulating last year’s runners-up performance. Defeat would have left them with an uphill task to finish among the top two.

“We are just taking it one match at a time. We are happy with our score and the way we bowled and we are confident we have the players to do the job,” said Rath.

The match was notable because Hong Kong’s Jason Lui become the first Dragons player to bat in the Blitz, although he was out first ball.

Cantons put on an excellent bowling performance to restrict Gladiators in their run chase. The defending champions scored 158 in their innings, losing their 10th wicket on the final ball. With last year’s century maker Dwayne Smith managing only 10 and captain Babar Hayat scoring 17, the Cantons struggled to score freely.

New Zealand’s James Franklin was the pick of the Galaxy bowlers, taking three wickets for 21 runs, with Arshad Mohammad and Imran Arif grabbing two each as Cantons looked to be at least 20 runs short of a defendable score.

Galaxy, after all, had the likes of Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara in their batting line-up. But Cantons had Pakistani ace Wahab Riaz.

Cameron Delport was out first ball of their innings and Galaxy never truly recovered. Sangakkara departed for 14 with only New Zealand’s Anton Devcich (26) and Munir Dar (28) collecting more than 20 runs.

Galaxy were all out for 127 with Riaz conceding a measly 14 runs in his four overs for four wickets.

“We need to improve our batting but we were always confident with our bowlers that we would defend that total,” said Cantons skipper Hayat. “It was good to get an opening win and now we’re looking forward to our next matches.”

Sangakkara, a former T20 World Cup winner with Sri Lanka, said Galaxy had every chance to win the match: “I think their total was about 20 runs below par, the match was ours to win but we didn’t bat very well.”

Cantons return to Mission Road on Thursday for their second match when they take on Hung Hom JD Jaguars in the morning match, starting at 10am. The afternoon game at 2pm sees Hong Kong Island United playing Gladiators, with both teams looking for their first victory.