As it happened: Hong Kong T20 Blitz – Day Four
Three matches today, Kowloon Cantons v Hong Kong Island United; City Kaitak v Hung Hom JD Jaguars; Galaxy Gladiators Lantau v Cantons
Watch: Kowloon Cantons v Galaxy Gladiators Lantau
5:49pm: In the end, it was pretty meek from Gladiators. Cantons deserved winners, by 64 runs, finishing on six points from their four group matches and into the final. Gladiators, 156 all out in 19.1 overs, definitely out and it’s now a fight between City Kaitak, Hung Hom JD Jaguars and HKI United for the other place in the final. Jaguars will want HKI to beat Kaitak by a small margin in the final game on Sunday to help their cause, but Kaitak remain favourites to reach the final.
Babar Hayat (Cantons captain and man of the match): “It is difficult to play two T20 matches in a row but the boys were up to it and if you are fit, you can do it.”
Jesse Ryder (Gladiators): “Disappointed not to have won but we were chasing a big target and you have to go at it from ball one. You either get there or you don’t.”
Next up: HKI United v City Kaitak on March 12 with still plenty to play for on the final day. Tune in at 10am and then the final at 2pm, if it doesn’t rain (chuckle).
5:35pm: Since we lost 18 overs to rain on Wednesday, there’s hardly been a drop falling on the Mission Road ground despite the clearly angry skies above. Wouldn’t it be funny if on the last day, the clouds unleash what they have threatened for the past four days? “Absolutely hilarious,” we hear the organisers say.
5:30pm: Getting difficult to watch ... At the rate this is going, they don’t need to worry about bad light. Seven down. Still, it is getting a bit dark.
4:45pm: That’s Anshuman Rath out for 31. That’s the Gladiators’ captain’s lowest innings of the tournament, proving himself as a dangerous opener who has more than held his own among the star-studded field. It’s now up to Sanga to steer the Galaxy innings, otherwise this will be there last match of the tournament. At 54 for two from 15 overs left, they are well within the run-rate with wickets in hand.
Update: Ignore above. Sanga gone for 10.
4:15pm: Kumar Sangakkara said earlier that he still thought a 200-plus score on this pitch was needed to challenge a chasing team. And that’s exactly what his Galaxy Gladiators Lantau team face after Kowloon Cantons, playing their second match of the day, posted a score of 220 for three – the highest score in the Blitz so far – in their 20 overs. Babar Hayat, with 62 and Calum MacLeod, 62 not out, led the way for Cantons, who must fancy their chances. For Gladiators, they simply must win but a successful chase will boost their run rate. Final innings of the day coming up.
— Hong Kong Cricket (@CricketHK) March 11, 2017
3:40pm: First fifty of the tournament for Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat, off 28 balls. Hayat is one of Hong Kong’s big hitters and appears to be helping Kowloon Cantons to a decent total. He has watched his compatriots Anshuman Rath and Nizakat Khan post big scores and he has finally been able to join them with a decent score. Cantons haven’t had the best of schedules, having to play twice today and two days in a row in the afternoon, when the light can get a bid dodgy. We know the Cantons are not entirely happy with their order of play, but there was always going to be one team at a disadvantage.
2:50pm: That’s Cricket Hong Kong’s every-man Max Abbott, carrying new balls. These ones are to be signed by for use by sponsors but Abbott might want to keep them handy for the matches given the number of sixes being hit over the past four days. Organisers have lost upwards of 30 balls, he says. There was even a suggestion that they lure a sponsor for lost balls. They certainly would have received plenty of mentions.
2.30pm: Good win for City Kaitak, but five wickets.Pitch is back to Wednesday conditions, or has it never changed? Kyle Coetzer leads with the way with 58 with Nicholas Pooran making 48, Dilshan 29 and Waqas Barakat 32. Chris Jordan did the final damage.
Rajnish Kapur (City Kaitak manager): “No score is a high score on this ground and we were confident we could reach the target. Nicholas Pooran is a player to watch.”
Nizakat Khan (Jaguars centurion): “Obviously happy to get a century but very disappointed we couldn’t win. We didn’t execute our plans and now have to rely on other teams if we want to reach the final.”
Next up: Last match of the day, Kowloon Cantons versus Galaxy Gladiators Lantau
2.06pm: Well deserved half-century from Scotland’s Kyle Coetzer, off 36 balls. He’s having a good tournament and City Kaitak’s chase of 194 is getting serious. They need 42 from 37 balls. West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran is also on fire with 24 off the 14th over.
1:54pm: This is the media tent at the Hong Kong T20 Blitz. It’s been our home for the past four days but we have to move out on Sunday, apparently, because organisers have sold it as a marquee. That’s Pramod on the left pretending to work hard. It’s been a cosy little enclave for us, with a decent view of the action. But it’s good for the tournament that folks are buying marquees, even at the last minute. We’re being moved to right next to one of the sight screens. As long as there’s a good internet connection, that’s all we ask.
1:30pm: Catch of the tournament so far, from Hong Kong’s Gareth Harte, playing for City Kaitak. Even Darren Sammy had to applaud it.
1pm: Looks like a full house here at Mission Road, probably the first time that’s been written. With the stands and marquees milling with people, 2,000 wouldn’t be far off the mark. Organisers are expecting more of the same on Sunday. The weather has been holding up. There were brief bursts of sunshine on Friday. Pramod insists the sun came out for a split second on Thursday but by now we know what he’s like. Even so, if the tournament were to stop now for whatever reason, it would still be deemed a success.
12:52am: Nizakat Khan finishes with a flourish, hitting his 10th six, along with eight fours, for his 120 not out as Hung Hom JD Jaguars post an imposing 193 for four. Nizakat’s knock is one shy of Dwayne Smith’s tournament-high 121. City Kaitak really need their stars such as Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Jordan to do the business if they want to overhaul this score. Four-day-old pitch, chasing is difficult.
12:37pm: Wonderful century for Hong Kong’ Nizakat Khan. A single off Chris Jordan bringing him his second career T20 international century. Hong Kong players have starred here. Second century of the tournament after Dwayne Smith’s effort on Wednesday. Jaguars could make a big score here.
12:03: Half-century for Hong Kong’s Nizakat Khan, representing Hung Hom JD Jaguars, against City Kaitak. That’s off 30 balls. Nizakat is one of the most promising batsman in Hong Kong and scored a century against Big Bash team Sydney Thunder in December. He’s starting to hit his stride in the Blitz.
12pm: What a difference a year makes for Hong Kong representative Kyle Christie. The Perth-based paceman was one year ago playing club cricket in Australia. Now, he is rubbing shoulders in the same dressing room as Pakistan’s Misbah-ul-Haq and one of his heroes, England’s Ian Bell. Christie answered a Facebook call by Cricket Hong Kong for Hong Kong-born cricketers who fancy their chances playing for the first team. He took a pop and now he is part of the Hong Kong Island United franchise at the T20 Blitz and a member of the Hong Kong senior squad. “It’s like a dream,” said Christie. “I’ve come over here and we’ve got some great cricketer here. It’s not like I’m walking into the team, it’s very competitive and it’s been an amazing experience so far.”
11:32am: Hong Kong T20 Blitz or Hong Kong Sixes? Or both? The debate has started and read what both sides have to say. T20 Blitz or Sixes: Can Hong Kong sustain two big cricket events?
10:40: Another chase gone awry. No matter how low the team batting first score, the chasing team seem to be falling short. A 44-run victory for Kowloon Cantons after they scored 168 for seven. HKI United all out for 124 in 19 overs, Ian Bell hitting 59. Much-needed win for Cantons. Marlon Samuels hit 51 for Cantons while Ashar Zaidi scored 46.
Ian Bell (HKI): “We definitely felt we could have got that score but we couldn’t really get any partnerships going.”
Marlon Samuels (Cantons, man of the match): “The pitch has been changing since the first day of the tournament and we felt we put up a pretty good score.”
Next up: City Kaitak v Hung Hom JD Jaguars. Please refresh page for new streaming feed.
10:21am: We posed the question, “If all these players at the T20 Blitz were at the peak of their powers, who would be the biggest name?” to Cricket Hong Kong CEO Tim Cutler, its marketing chief Max Abbott and, of course, Pramod. To prove that it’s not always great minds that think alike, all three went for the same player, Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara, who is representing Galaxy Gladiators Lantau. Of course, had West Indian Brian Lara been here as a player, instead of a mentor, he’d probably had run away with it given his world test record inning of 400. Still, Sangakkara, with a T20 World Cup gold medal and 12,400 test runs is worthy of that accolade. Misbah, Darren Sammy, Tillakaratne Dilshan and a host of others ensure that there is no shortage of star quality in Hong Kong this weekend.
10:05am: Pramod, as usual, is wrong. Misbah-ul-Haq is out, the first time he has been dismissed in this tournament. He was caught at deep extra cover by Waqas Khan off the bowling of Ashar Zaidi for six runs. Cantons marquee are going wild. Could yet another chasing team fail to reach their targer? Certainly with Misbah out, HKI are up against it.
9:05am: Kowloon Cantons finish on 168 for seven. We’ve been saying that such scores are not enough to defend but we’ve been wrong almost every time. The pitch is on its fourth day, so first-innings totals are getting lower. Still, with Misbah possibly batting, no score is safe. Pramod reckons Misbah will not be dismissed in this tournament. Pramod is rarely correct.
8.52: Marlon Samuels out, caught and bowled by Saeed Ajmal for 51, who took a nice catch. Straight after that, he Ajmal gets hit for a six, prompting captain Misbah-ul-Haq to berate him. Clearly, the players are taking their roles seriously in the tournament, which is good to see. Pramod Ananth, from India’s cricketcountry.com, said: “I don’t think any careers are on the line in this tournament so it’s good to see them trying their best.” A rare good line from Pramod, still bleary-eyed this morning having been out at the Observation wheel and Madame Toussauds’ wax museum at The Peak last night.
8.40am: As it has been since Wednesday, the clouds are hovering threatening over the grounds but have been reluctant to unleash its load. Still, organisers are worried, thinking that today – when there are three matches – is the day the rains finally come. So, they are secretly hoping for one-side matches and early finishes. The second match is scheduled to start a 11am but they’ll be happy to bring it forward if the Cantons-United game finishes early. The way Cantons are batting, that’s entirely possible. That’s 50 for Marlon Samuels off 34 balls, so not all of them are losing wickets.
7.30am: Welcome to day four of the DTC Hong Kong T20 Blitz. We’re here with Urvashi Sethi, CEO of Kowloon Cantons, up bright and early to support her team against Hong Kong Island United in the first match of what will be a long day of three games. Sethi has some strong words to say about the possibility of Hong Kong hosting two tournaments in a year – the Blitz and the Hong Kong Sixes – so look out for this weekend’s Left Field column to hear her views.
The tournament is still quite open after three days. Hung Hom JD Jaguars are top with two wins and the other four teams have one victory each, so defeat is not an option for any of the franchises today.
Hong Kong Island United have won the toss and elected to field.