An impressive first wicket stand between Dwayne Smith and Babar Hayat guided the Kowloon Cantons through the all-important title in the Hong Kong Twenty20 Blitz final played at Mission Road Ground, Mong Kok, Hong Kong on Sunday the 12th of March 2017.
Winning the toss and batting first, the Cantons dominated proceedings with an entertaining 149 run partnership before Nadeem Ahmed bagged the first wicket for City Kaitak. Dwayne Smith made 68 with 4 fours and 5 sixes but his partner Babar Hayat went on to make 76 in just 40 deliveries.
Marlon Samuels followed with an impressive cameo, helping the Cantons to 222 in the given 20 overs. Nadeem Ahamed emerged as the pick of the bowlers for Kaitak with figures of 2 for 35 in 3 overs.
In response, Tillekeratne Dilshan’s explosive start gave City Kaitak the edge but the first wicket led to a series of blows at regular intervals. Dilshan made 23 in just 11 deliveries with 2 sixes and a four. His opening partner Kyle Coetzer made 63 in just 36 deliveries, smashing 7 big sixes out of the park.
Pooran and Buckley supported with good knocks but it only took City Kaitak to 197 in the 19th over.
Ashar Zaidi bagged three wickets as Yasir Arafat, Tanveer Ahmed and Marlon Samuels bagged a couple each for the Cantons.
Babar Hayat was announced player of the match.
“I knew if we got one wicket, we would be in the game. There are no words to describe how it feels to win the championship. The whole tournament was a huge success… fingers crossed it keeps growing in the next couple of years,” said Hayat.
All in all, the short tournament was a tremendous success and the combination of world class players made it even better for Cricket Hong Kong. It was an important opportunity for players from a few associate nations as well.
The inexperienced players were well equipped with guidance from the experienced lot in the squad.
“I was just going for my shots. Dwayne Smith was telling me that, ‘I’ll take your role and you take my role, just keep the way you’re going. Then, I just kept playing my shots.” added Babar Hayat.
Meanwhile, a total of eleven matches were played over the course of four days starting 8th of March 2017. Surprisingly, Kumar Sangakkara’s Galaxy Gladiators only managed one win out of three but the spectators were thrilled to see the Sri Lankan back in form in the final Twenty20.
Alongside Afghanistan and Ireland, Hong Kong Cricket has tremendous potential to take the world by surprise and the Twenty20 Blitz is one way to get things going.
“By putting on a world class event, which I think the Blitz is building up to be – we’ve got people all across Hong Kong wanting to know ‘what is this T20 Blitz?’ that they’re hearing talked about – and when they see the amount of attention and people talking about Hong Kong and cricket in the same sentence, I think that’s a chance for us to start a conversation with a lot of people who don’t know too much about cricket and build from there,” said Cricket Hong Kong chief executive Tim Cutler.
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