Premier League Cricket is back! This Sunday will be the start of the CHK Premier League OD tournament - the follow up to our successful PLT20 tournament earlier in the season! The five biggest clubs in Hong Kong will battle it out to determine the best 50-over side in the region. Read on to learn more!
One Day cricket has not been played at the Premier League level since 2017. The format now makes a return to the HK cricketing calendar, with teams from the 5 premier clubs – HKCC, KCC, DLSW, PACC and, for the first time, USRC – playing 10 matches over the course of the next 6 weeks.
The previous PLOD tournament featured 20 games, between KCC, HKCC, DLSW, USRC and a CHK Independent XI. KCC comfortably emerged as champions, with 6 wins from their 8 matches, finishing 7 points clear of second-placed DLSW. They will be confident of repeating this effort after a strong showing in the PLT20 earlier this season. However, the current PLT20 champions PACC finished in last place – no doubt they will be looking to make amends this time around!
All the clubs will be bolstered by the presence of their national squad members in their squads. They have just returned from a heavy schedule of T20 cricket, and this tournament offers them an opportunity to shift gears ahead of the second round of the ICC Challenge League B in Uganda over the summer. For those not in the squad, this is their chance to stake a claim for a spot in the side, with head coach Trent Johnston keeping a keen eye on proceedings.
Hong Kong Cricket Club – Veteran offspinner Isaac Poole leads an experienced side that, while short on star players, is well balanced in all departments. Kinchit Shah will be his go-to man with both bat and ball, and he will have the services of former HK quick bowlers Tanveer Ahmed and Adil Mehmood to call upon as well. Youngster Raag Kapur will look to put his experiences with the HK side to good use at the top of the order, while Kinchit’s younger brother Ninad Shah will play a key role in the middle, alongside former Durham cricketer Ryan Buckley and MCC young cricketer Luke Jones. Expect this team to bat deep and have plenty of bowling options, with numerous experienced all-rounders at their disposal.
Kowloon Cricket Club – Having lost the PLT20 tournament by the narrowest of margins, the KCC team will be determined to prove that they are the side to beat. Their strength will lie in their experience and leadership, with both Jamie Atkinson and Aizaz Khan in the side. Jamie will lead the team in their opening fixture but is expected to hand the reigns over to former Oxford cricketer and current CityU professor Daniel Pascoe for the remainder of the tournament. Jamie and Aizaz aside, KCC boasts no less than 11 other players that have represented Hong Kong in the squad. Superstar Nizakat Khan will be entrusted with providing explosive starts at the top of the order, while veteran Waqas Barkat will share all-round duties with Aizaz. Chris Carter will compete with Aarush Bhagwat for wicketkeeping duties, and former Namibian quick bowler Jay Davidson is expected to lead the pace attack. Definitely a team to keep an eye on.
Disaqua Little Sai Wan CC – DLSWCC are likely to field what will quite comfortably be the best spin bowling attack in this tournament, with HK frontline spinners Ehsan Khan and Aftab Hussain (fresh of a Bowler of The Tournament performance at the ACC Eastern Region T20) bowling in tandem alongside HK legspinner Ghazanfer Mohammed. This 3-man spin attack will also have HK U-19 left-arm spinner Mohammad Hassan hot on their heels, just in case any of them slip up. They will be backed up by quick bowlers Mohsin Khan and Haroon Arshad – the former having made his HK debut recently, and the latter having just taken his first 5-wicket haul in HK colors against Nepal. Bowling will not be a problem for this side, and so attention will turn to their batting, where they will be heavily reliant on Shahid Wasif (coming off a MOTM performance in HK’s must-win-game against Malaysia), Waqas Khan, and HK U19 allrounder Mehran Zeb (yet another spinner!). Ehsan Khan will likely captain and shore up the middle order in addition to bowling his full 10 overs each game – he will be look to the numerous young batsmen and club stalwarts in the side to help ease his burden.
Pakistan Association CC – After having won the Premier League T20 title in September last year, PACC will now look to add yet another trophy to their collection. Lead by veteran Tanwir Afzal, this is a side packed full of dangerous big hitters, with Babar Hayat, Zeeshan Ali, Yasim Murtaza, Manjinder Singh and Tanwir himself all capable of winning a game single handedly. Hamed Khan will be coming off a stint with the HK side, and will be expected to play the anchor role alongside Daniyal Bukhari, laying the platform for the more aggressive strikers. The bowling attack will be led by Tanwir and former Pakistani First Class spinner Murtaza, with former HK quick bowler Ehsan Nawaz likely to bowl some key overs. Tanwir will also have the services of veteran spinners Anas Khan and Mohammad Ishtiaq, as well as two talented young quicks in Nusrullah Rana and Hassan Khan Mohammad. A quality side with talent in all departments, they are the favorites to win this tournament.
United Services Recreation Club – The newest addition to the Premier League, they are a talented and rapidly-improving young side that will look to make their presence felt after a disappointing PLT20 campaign. Led by former county pro Imran Arif, he will look to Skhawat Ali and Ahsan Abbasi to provide experience with both bat and ball. 17-year old spinner Ehsan Muhammad and 19-year old left arm seamer Muhayam Zaman impressed in the PLT20, while 19-year old Daniyal Butt will be one to keep an eye on in the middle order. Young allrounders Akbar Khan, Huzafah Mohammad and Zakir Hayat will add depth and balance to the side, so there is plenty to watch for when they take the field.
The opening weekend pits HKCC against DLSW, it what will hopefully be a repeat of their thrilling game in the PLT20 league earlier this season. The two sides played out a dramatic tie, with HKCC emerging victorious in the super-over. DLSW will be determined to avenge that loss this time around, while HKCC will be hoping for more of the same magic at their home ground.
Meanwhile at KCC, USRC will be hungry to taste success in the Premier League, after having gone winless in the PLT20. Their batting struggled throughout the competition, but they put up their highest score at this ground. They will seek inspiration from that performance, while KCC will look to claim the favourites tag from PACC with an emphatic win on home soil.
15th March – HKCC – 09:30 AM – HKCC PL vs DLSW DLIT
15th March – KCC – 10:00 AM – KCC PL vs USRC PL
22nd March – HKCC – 09:30 AM – HKCC PL vs PACC PL
22nd March – KCC – 10:00 AM – DLSW DLIT vs KCC PL
29th March – Mission Road – DLSW DLIT vs PACC PL
29th March – KCC – KCC PL vs HKCC PL
5th April – Mission Road – PACC PL vs USRC PL
12th April – Mission Road – USRC PL vs DLSW PL
19th April – HKCC – USRC PL vs HKCC PL
19th April – KCC – PACC PL vs KCC PL
Select games will be broadcast live on our Facebook and YouTube pages, and all games will be live scored on Cricinfo and CricHQ. You can also find scores, results and stats on CricHeroes. Be sure to tune in and show your support!
- Nitesh Hemlani