Dwayne Smith lights up Hong Kong T20 Blitz with sparkling ton as Caribbean stars shine
West Indian hits 121 not out in 40 balls as Kowloon Cantons and Hung Hong JD Jaguars win on the opening day
West Indian players dominated the opening day of the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz with Dwayne Smith leading the way thanks to his brilliant century for Kowloon Cantons, while Hong Kong’s Anshuman Rath also shone albeit in a losing effort for Galaxy Gladiators Lantau.
Smith smashed 121 not out off just 40 deliveries with 13 sixes at Mission Road on Wednesday as Cantons romped to an eight-wicket victory over City Kaitak, with his Windies teammate Marlon Samuels contributing 59.
Earlier, West Indies’ World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy hit 52 not out for Hung Hong JD Jaguars with New Zealand’s James Franklin top-scoring with 58 in their side’s 27-run win over the Gladiators.
Smith said he was confident Cantons would overhaul City Kaitak’s seemingly challenging total of 199 for six, given the relatively small ground.
“Well, basically it was a great pitch and I must commend the groundsman for that,” said 33-year-old Smith, who has played 33 T20 matches for West Indies with a highest score of 72. “For me, it was just a case of going out there and being confident and staying as positive as I can be.
“It’s a small ground, a good pitch and that’s a recipe for runs. I think they were about 20 to 30 runs short. This pitch batting first you probably need about 220 to challenge teams. Having said that, we had a great start and we hope to continue from there.”
Smith walloped 28 runs off the first over as Cantons began their chase strongly, eventually scoring 204 for two wickets.
Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer and England’s Chris Jordan starred for City Kaitak. Opener Coetzer smashed 87 – which was the highest score of the tournament until Smith came along – while Jordan contributed 75 not out.
Sri Lankan star Tillakaratne Dilshan, inventor of the Dilscoop, was gone on the second ball he faced, given LBW from a Ashar Zaidi delivery.
In the first match, Hong Kong player and Gladiators captain Rath outshone Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara with his 45 as his team compiled 118 for eight from 11 overs after the match was shortened because of rain in the morning.
World Cup winner Sangakarra scored 19 and South African Courtney Kruger 23 but their total was well short of their target. Earlier, Franklin and Sammy hit half-centuries as Jaguars totalled 145 for three.
Organisers were happy with the action on the opening day as heavy clouds hung menacingly, with only the first match affected by rain.
Cricket Hong Kong (CHK) CEO Tim Cutler said he was particularly pleased with Rath’s knock for the Gladiators.
“I’m happy the bad weather stayed away and there was some amazing cricket,” he said. “How can you not mention Dwayne Smith? But from a Hong Kong point of view, I’m just as pleased to see Anshuman out-bat Sangakkara as well as Ashley Caddy’s hat-trick [for Jaguars].
“It’s great to see a home-grown talent do well. Also, there were more people than we expected for a Wednesday. There were upwards of 200 to 300 people at its peak and we are hoping the numbers increase.”
CHK said general admission tickets for Saturday and Sunday’s final were sold out while only a few seats remain for Friday’s play.
“It’s been a great atmosphere and it can only get better,” said Cutler. “We are expecting close to 1,500 people on Saturday and Sunday.”
The action resumes on Thursday with the Jaguars taking on Hong Kong Island United while the second game is between Gladiators and City Kaitak.