Kowloon Cantons seal second T20 Blitz title with imperious win over City Kaitak
Cantons defend T20 title in 25-run win in front of packed Mission Road crowd
Despite a glittering array of foreign jewels on display at Mission Road it was an inspired performance from Hong Kong’s own Babar Hayat that proved the foundation of a dominant win for the Kowloon Cantons as they won by 25 runs and retained the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz title in sparkling style against City Kaitak on Sunday.
Hayat’s slog of 76 from 40 balls set the tone for a high-scoring finale to the week with the defending champions running up a daunting total of 223-3 for Kaitak to chase.
By the time opener Hayat was dismissed by Nadeem Ahmed the scoreboard was humming along at 149 and Kowloon already had one hand on the title.
“I was just going for my shots and at the other end they were telling me ‘just keep going the way you’re going’ and that was a big help,” said Kowloon captain Hayat. “It was a good total – 220 is always hard to chase down in a final. We knew once we got Coetzer and Pooran out we were going to win this game.”
The Cantons saved the best for last as they registered the biggest score of the competition at its denouement.
Kowloon again proved the bane of Kaitak as they handed them a second defeat to add their only loss in group play on the opening day of the tournament.
It was a hectic start to the final. The Cantons were 28 without loss after two overs and kept the run rate ticking over at a similar pace throughout the innings. And when man of the match Hayat departed, Marlon Samuels (32) took over with West Indian counterpart Dwayne Smith (68) as the score raced along. A 16-ball cameo from Pakistan’s Ashar Zaidi yielded 24 and set the tone for a high-scoring afternoon.
Ultimately, a second win of the day proved out of Kaitak’s reach having earlier put paid to the feint hopes of Hong Kong Island United with an easy 50-run win. But another blistering start to the innings suggested that Kaitak were ready to make a fist of their challenge.
Another fantastic knock from Scotland international Kyle Coetzer put Kaitak on the way to completing a most unexpected comeback as they motored along to 57 without loss in reply.
Coetzer hit Dwayne Smith for four straight sixes in an over that felt like the turning point for Kaitak with them 57 without loss and well on course to overhaul the Cantons’ total. But when Coetzer departed for 63 off 36 balls, there was a creeping feeling that Kaitak had run their race and they quickly went from 108-3 to 123-6.
“We knew there was a big score on the board so we had to keep attacking and hitting boundaries cause if you fall too far behind, the game is over,” said Coetzer.
“Fair play to the Kowloon Cantons, they played an exceptional game of cricket today.”
In the end City Kaitak’s only silverware was for Englishman Chris Jordan who was named player of the series with 150 runs and nine wickets.