Next week Wasim Akram and his teammates will fast, observing the month of Ramadan. Yesterday they feasted on a meaty and substantial purse offered for winning the Cathay Pacific/Standard Chartered Hong Kong Sixes tournament at the Kowloon Cricket Club. Player of the Tournament Akram led his country in the absence of a flu-ridden Rashid Latif to an 11-run victory over South Africa to win the Butani Cup as well as a weighty purse of US$80,000 in front of a delirious crowd of flag-waving Pakistanis who celebrated joyously. 'We take a one month break from cricket now due to Ramadan. I hope this win and last week's victory in Sharjah will lift the spirits of our countrymen back home. There is so much trouble happening around them that I hope the cricket has been a welcome distraction,' Akram said afterwards. The tournament was shown live on the sub-continent unsettled by the ongoing war in Afghanistan. Hong Kong's dream ended when they were beaten by India in the Plate final. Rahul Sharma put Hong Kong into the final when he played an all-round role in a 16-run victory over the United Arab Emirates in the semi-final. Sharma scored 33 and took one for 10 bowling at the death. But India were in a different class as they romped to a five-wicket win to take the Plate final. Last week Pakistan beat Sanath Jayasuriya's Sri Lanka in the Champions Trophy to pick up a purse of US$120,000. Ever since arriving in Hong Kong last Thursday, there seemed an air of inevitablity that they would add the Hong Kong purse to that pile. South Africa bravely tried to stop the favourites. But the fate of the match swung on a disastrous last three balls bowled by Steve Elworthy. Bowling the final over of the Pakistan innings, the big medium-pacer began superbly by bowling dangerman Shahid Afridi for 16. With Akram run out earlier for 23 and big-hitting youngster Imran Nazir dismissed for 30, Pakistan had lost three wickets by Afridi's fall with the score on 79. With three balls left, it seemed Pakistan would not have enough on the board to worry South Africa who began the day with Jonty Rhodes dropping himself in favour of new find Loots Bosman who was in great ball-striking form. In walked Azhar Mahmood to face Elworthy. Mahmood, a middle-order batsman who has played 108 one day internationals, hit the first ball he faced over Elworthy's head and into the stands. The next ball he swung high over mid-wicket. The last ball of the inning was a wide and it also escaped Bosman's gloves and slipped over the boundary, giving Pakistan a bonus of six runs, two for the wide and four from the boundary. It also meant Elworthy had to bowl an extra ball which Mahmodd and Abdur Razzaq scrambled for a single. From 79 for three, the total had suddenly ballooned to 98, a much healthier situation for Pakistan and a total which could be defended. And so it proved. Bosman and Elworthy, keen to make amends, smacked 48 runs from the first two overs from Mahmood and Afridi. Akram then brought himself on and immediately put a clamp on the run flow. Once again his aggressive toe-splitting bowling tilted the balance firmly in Pakistan's favour. He conceded 10 runs, the most he had given away all weekend, but it was enough to swing the game back with South Africa needing 40 more runs from the last two overs. It was too big a task. Razzaq bowled miserly giving away 14 runs in the fourth over leaving 26 runs needed from Shoaib Malik's final over. By then Bosman had retired scoring 31 and Elworthy was to follow, caught on the point boundary by Akram off Malik's first ball. 'Our plan was always for me to bowl the middle over. If I had saved myself for the final over it might have been too late,' Akram said. He bowled five overs in the entire tournament and gave away only 28 runs, less than a run a ball. Magnificent stuff in this form of cricket where a bowler would be happy if he conceded just two runs from each delivery. No wonder adjudicator John Hung, chairman of the Sports Development Board, said it was an easy task picking the Player of the Tournament. 'There is no alternative to winning. I get a high from winning. I'm addicted to it,' an ecstatic Akram said. Pakistan had beaten Sri Lanka in the semi-final, by 34 runs, to book their berth in the finale. In the other semi-final, South Africa had seen off England, winning by four wickets chasing a meagre total of 68. South Africa had in the morning crushed Hong Kong's hopes of entering the Cup competition when they beat them by five wickets. Once in the Plate, Hong Kong defeated Asian rivals United Arab Emirates, thanks to Sharma who was later recognised as Hong Kong's Player of the Tournament. 'It is nice to get one over the UAE. They beat us in the ACC final in Sharjah last year and while this is altogether a different tournament, it is still an international event,' said Sharma. Sharma pointed out that Hong Kong were short by about 30 runs in the Plate final against India who had beaten them in the Pool competition on Saturday too. 'We tried, but fell short. They are a bunch of professionals while we are a bunch of Saturday and Sunday League players,' said Sharma. But Hong Kong still did themselves proud. Indian captain Robin Singh said victory over Hong Kong 'is something better than nothing'. 'Maybe next time we will meet Pakistan in the Cup final.' Watching their arch-rivals lift the Hong Kong Sixes trophy for a third time must have been galling for India who were seeded to meet Pakistan in the Cup final. No wonder the large contingent of Pakistani spectators were extra jubilant yesterday.