Breathtaking slugfest kicks off Hong Kong T20 Blitz
After earlier wet weather threatened to derail opening day, Hung Hom JD Jaguars and GII Lantau Galaxy Riders are tied after five-over quick-fire match, with Hung Hom prevailing in one-over eliminator
A breathtaking start and a breathtaking end to the first match of the DTC Mobile Hong Kong T20 Blitz – it was always going to be once the wet outfield was deemed playable and the teams came out for a five-over cricket slugfest.
Fittingly, the match was tied as Hung Hom JD Jaguars scored 75 for 1 in their five overs to match the total of GII Lantau Galaxy Riders, who lost two wickets in their innings.
But Hung Hom prevailed in a one-over eliminator contest, hitting 21 for one while Lantau replied with seven for one.
In the regular innings, Hong Kong international Nizakat Khan was run out on the final ball when just one run was needed for outright victory, finishing on 54; he is the tournament’s first-ever half-centurion with his 50 coming from 17 balls.
It was a tense finish in a game in which there was no time to look away, providing the perfect start to the event after wet weather threatened to derail the first day.
Nizakat was also the eliminator hero, scoring all 21 runs. Anas Khan and Moner Dar, in reply, were unable to collect enough runs off UAE bowler Mohammad Naveed.
There was drama at the start of the match as well. Anas had the opportunity to become the first player to hit a Blitz six – and he didn’t waste a single ball.
On the very first delivery at the inaugural tournament, Anas cleared the boundary from a ball by Hung Hom JD Jaguars bowler Jangzeb Khan.
Jangzeb, though, was clearly keen to make amends for being the first bowler to concede a six.
Two deliveries later, Jangzeb got his revenge when he removed Anas, in the process becoming the first bowler to take a wicket at the Blitz. Anas balanced his six heroics by being the first wicket to fall at the tournament.
Once those firsts were out of the way, the runs started to flow.
Galaxy Riders went on a hitting spree as they scored 75 for two in their five overs.
Mohammad Awais hit a 15-ball 41 not out with three sixes and five fours while Dar contributed 12, before being bowled by Uzair Khan, and Waqas Khan hit 11.
It seemed a daunting task for the Jaguars but they started brilliantly with Australian recruit Craig Simmons and Nizakat blasting 18 off the first over.
The pair continued relentlessly and looked like they would keep all their wickets intact until Nizakat’s last-ball run-out. Simmons finished not out on 19 off 10 balls, with two sixes.
Saturday sees Michael Clarke and his Kowloon Cantons take on Hung Hom in the second match before they play the Woodworm Warriors. Galaxy Riders are first up on Saturday, against the Warriors.