10 Feb 2018

All to play for ahead of Hong Kong T20 Blitz weekend


By Jonathan Stott

Saturday’s first match sees Galaxy Gladiators Lantau up against City Kaitak in what is effectively a semi-final, with both teams having won two of their opening three matches.  

Both teams lost their opening fixtures but have won their two subsequent games, with Lantau’s batting line-up averaging almost 11 per over through the course of their last two innings.

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Whilst Lantau’s top order has been firing on all cylinders, the Kaitak bowlers have conceded 104 runs less than their Lantau counterparts, led by West Indian Rayad Emirt and Pakistani Sohail Tanvir, with 5 wickets apiece.

Even a loss for either side could result in them sneaking in to the final, but that would require Hong Kong Island to beat table-topping Hung Hom Jaguars in the Saturday afternoon match, and then lose narrowly to reigning champions Kowloon Cantons on Sunday morning.

In all likelihood the key battle in this match will be between the combination of skill and power served up by Lantau’s Kumar Sangakkara and Cameron Delport, and the guile of Kaitak’s bowling attack, with former number one ranked T20 bowler Samuel Badree and England allrounder Ravi Bopara complimenting Emrit and Tanvir.  Expect a close encounter!

On Saturday afternoon HKI United look to gain their first win of the competition against Hung Hom Jaguars, who started with back-to-back victories over both of last year’s finalists Kaitak and Cantons, before falling excruciatingly short in chasing Lantau’s huge total of 228/7 on Friday.

If Hung Hom win they will qualify for the final, resulting in Sunday’s match between HKI and Cantons being a dead rubber.  However, if HKI gain a victory it will maintain their outside chance of reaching the final themselves.

For HKI, other than one half century for Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate, the big-hitting potential in their top-order has failed to fire, whilst their bowlers have only picked up 6 wickets between them in their opening two matches.  Compare that to the fact that the Jaguars’ BBL winner Ben Laughlin has already taken seven wickets for just 70 runs at less than a run per ball, and their batsmen have plundered 533 runs in 57.4 overs, it’s reasonable to suggest that Jaguars are heavy favourites going in to the match. 

However, as is always the case with T20 cricket, results don’t always follow the form, and with HKI knowing that only a victory will keep their tournament alive, this is set to be yet another fixture that is sure to be highly competitive.