Revamp to give Sixes smashing final day

A NEW format will be used for the final day of the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes - almost eliminating the series of ''dead'' matches that plagued last year's inaugural tournament.

Organisers of the Cathay Pacific and Wharf Holdings-sponsored event yesterday revealed the new format which, in its worse-case scenario, would feature only Cup competition match which would have no bearing on outcome.

The first day remains the same with the nine teams divided into three groups of three in a round-robin competition.

But this year the three group winners will qualify for the knock-out semi-finals, while the vacant semi-final place will be decided after a round-robin Cup Eliminator competition featuring the three group runners-up.

The bottom team in each group are relegated to the consolation Plate event.

In last year's tournament the six finalists - the winners and runners-up of preliminary groups - were divided into two groups of three.


The winners of each group, after a round-robin, met in the final, with Pakistan beating India to win the title.

While the inaugural event was a huge success, some of the second-day round-robin matches were meaningless.

Jason Penrose, of organisers Cricket World International, said: ''Everybody had a few ideas and after two committee meetings we think that this is the best we can do.

''There will be 20 games in two days and the semi-finals will start after lunch on the second day.


''In the Cup competition it is only during the Cup Eliminator that I can see one dead match cropping up.'' Penrose said that other options were also considered.

''We thought about keeping the same format as last year but eventually knocked it on the head.'' The $400,000 tournament, on October 1 and 2 at the Kowloon Cricket Club, sees eight of the nine Test playing nations and hosts Hong Kong battle it out in what is destined to be a major event on the international calendar.


Last year's winners and world one-day champions Pakistan will be joined by India, West Indies, England, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and debutants South Africa, who replace Zimbabwe.

CWI executive director Brian Catton said: ''We are confident that the new format for day two of the tournament will make the Sixes even more exciting for fans.

''Last year, unfortunately, one or two matches, because of previous results, had no bearing on the tournament's outcome.'' Between the semi-finals and the final are the matches to decide third to sixth places.


The format of the Plate competition is also slightly altered. Last year the three bottom teams played a consolation round-robin with the top two meeting in the final.

This year, the final has been eliminated and the top team will be declared the winner.

The only change to the rules is that full tosses above stump-high will be declared a no-ball.


Penrose said Pakistan's fast bowler Waqar Younis gained an advantage by bowling full tosses.

''Last year, we had Waqar Younis bowling full tosses at 90 miles an hour and it was really unplayable, so we are hoping to put a stop to that.'' A sixes match sees each team bat for five overs with each fielding player, except the wicketkeeper, bowling one over.

The winners will receive $150,000, while the runners-up earn $75,000.