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Hong Kong Cricket Sixes

Make some noise as the Sixes packs a wallop on its return

Organisers and supporters welcome the much-anticipated reappearance of Hong Kong’s premier cricket event at the Kowloon Cricket Club

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 October, 2017, 7:14pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 12:06am

Pakistan won all their matches, the sun shone and the fans, while not coming out in droves, made enough noise to create a decent atmosphere. The Sixes are back, and that’s what mattered most to organisers and supporters.

After five years in the wilderness, the 2017 Hong Kong World Sixes opened at the Kowloon Cricket Club to the usual barrage of boundaries as orange balls flew to all corners of the Cox’s Road ground.

“It’s brilliant to be back, perfect weather, great cricket and everyone on the ground is having a good time and that’s what we wanted,” said a delighted Cricket Hong Kong (CHK) director Jonathan Cummings.

CHK decided to go ahead with this year’s tournament even without a title sponsor, hoping its rebranding of the tournament as “Sixes 2.0” with fresh digital content innovations will help to give it enough momentum to attract long-term partners.

Hong Kong World Sixes day one – as it happened

Saturday’s matches were the perfect way to ease the fans back into the fastest form of the game, with the format allowing for all teams to qualify for the quarter-finals.

The eight teams played in two pools of four and although there were winners and losers, all sides progress into Sunday’s knockout phase.

Five-time champions Pakistan looked impressive as they strolled to victories over Hong Kong, defending champions South Africa and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) to stand as the only unbeaten team in the tournament.

New Zealand, with four points, finished second with two wins ahead of an impressive young Bangladesh team and South Africa on net run rate. Sri Lanka were fifth ahead of Australia and Hong Kong – all with one victory, while winless MCC finished bottom of the table.

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It means that Pakistan’s first match is a repeat of their last group game against MCC. And Saturday’s results will be wiped off the slate when the quarter-finals start on Sunday, with all teams still having a chance of winning the tournament.

One of the best matches was Bangladesh’s seven-run victory over Australia. Afif Hossain bowled a brilliant last over, conceding just seven runs and claiming a wicket to deny the Australians in their chase of 88.

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Bangladesh are fielding effectively an under-19 team and Hossain said their enthusiasm is shining through in this tournament.

“There was so much pressure in the last over but we stuck to our plan,” said Hossain. “We are a young team and we are close and we have the energy and that is why we are doing well.

“We have the quality to be successful in this tournament.”

In their quarter-final, Bangladesh face Australia.

Hong Kong recovered from two losses to claim their only victory – against MCC – by four wickets with three balls to spare.

Earlier, they had lost by five wickets to South Africa despite putting up 95 runs and then fell by 26 runs to Pakistan.

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“We were disappointed in how we played in the first two matches but we discussed it and really stuck to our plan in our last match,” said Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat, whose team face New Zealand Kiwis in the quarter-finals. “We did enough to give us confidence going into Sunday.” In the other quarter-final, South Africa face Sri Lanka. MCC may have not won a match but their star batsman Rikki Clarke was the day’s leading six-hitter, blasting 11 over the boundaries. Hong Kong’s Nizakat Khan hit 10 sixes.