23 November 2020
KCC 147/5 in 19.3 overs (Rory Cox 46, Aizaz Khan 43, Luke Jones 3-0-18-3) beat HKCC 146/5 in 20 overs (Nizakat Khan 66, Daniel Pascoe 4-0-25-2) by 5 wickets
HKCC skipper Elliot Scrivener won the toss yet again, making it 5 times out of 5 games, and yet again opted to bat first! KCC welcomed back Rory Cox at the top of the order, replacing Sunny Bhimsaria, but were otherwise unchanged. HKCC on the other hand, had several changes. Charlie Wallis returned to the XI after injuring his shoulder at the start of the tournament, replacing medium pacer Martin Versfeld, who was dropped for the Final after having played in all four group stage games! Ryan Buckley recovered from a back niggle that saw him sit out against USRC last week, and Jack Metters got another go in the middle order, which meant that young HK national squad prospects Adit Gorawara and Ninad Shah were both left out of the side as well.
Coetzee and Nizakat opened the batting against Davidson and Aizaz on another beautiful sunny afternoon. The openers picked up a boundary per over for the first 3 overs and were going well till Davidson struck to dismiss the dangerous Coetzee! The former South African FC cricketer skied one to cover trying to work the former Namibian international into the legside, where Waqas Barkat completed a simple catch. It was Davidson’s 2nd time dismissing Coetzee in the PLT20, and HKCC were 20/1 after 3 overs. Kinchit joined Nizakat at the crease, and the pair took HKCC to 47/1 in the powerplay. They found plenty of singles and hit the odd bad ball for six, and were cruising along till a bit of misfortune saw Kinchit dismissed in the 9th over. He had set off for a quick single, was sent back by Nizakat, and slipped while trying to turn around. This gave the fielder and the keeper plenty of time to run him out, and to break the dangerous partnership. HKCC now 62/2 in 9 overs!
The wicket of Kinchit triggered a bit of a wobble in the HKCC batting, as KCC put together a good passage of play. Luke Jones was dismissed caught and bowled by Ateeq Iqbal and Haroon Arshad was caught nicely in the deep off Dan Pascoe’s bowling. Overs 10 to 12 yielded just 6 runs, and at the end of it HKCC were 68/4 and struggling. Ryan Buckley joined Nizakat Khan – batting on 28 off 23 balls – and the two of them revived the innings for the visitors. They found the boundary with greater frequency, including taking 19 runs off Davidson’s fourth over, and put on 63 runs in the next 41 balls. Nizakat brought up his 50 off 34 balls in the 16th over, but was the next man dismissed, caught at short-third man by Ateeq Iqbal off Dan Pascoe’s bowling. He did manage to hit Pascoe for 2 sixes earlier in that over though and finished with 66 off 41 balls – 38 runs coming in the 18 deliveries he faced after the fall of the fourth wicket. Ryan Buckley picked up a few boundaries himself, including one in the final over, as he batted through back issues to finish with 32* in 30 balls. HKCC finished on 146/5 in their 20 overs – a decent score, setting the stage for an exciting 2nd innings.
In response, Rory Cox and Aizaz Khan both started the chase very well. They saw off the good balls, ran quick singles, and cashed in every time the HKCC bowlers erred in line or length. They cruised to 42/0 in the powerplay, brought up the 50-run partnership in the 7th over, and at the halfway stage had taken KCC to 76 for no loss! There were a few half chances offered, but by and larger it was a clinical batting effort. Scrivener used all the bowling options at his disposal, but nothing seemed to work. Ultimately it was Haroon who finally got the breakthrough, getting Aizaz to mis-hit a fulltoss to Buckley in the deep for 43! KCC 81/1 in 10.3 overs. Jamie Atkinson strode out at number 3 and hit Charlie Wallis for two massive sixes in the 13th over to bring the asking rate down to less than 6 RPO! Scrivener then got the wicket of Cox for 46, also out hitting a fulltoss to the deep, but with just 32 runs needed in the last 6 overs and 8 wickets in hand, the result seemed a formality.
The fact that the game made it to the final over is largely due to Luke Jones’ spell late in the game. Introduced into the attack in the 15th over, he started with a wide, got hit for 6 by Simandeep Singh the following ball, but then got his revenge the ball after! The in-form batter was out caught in the deep, KCC now 3 wickets down. He repeated the same trick next over, getting Waqas Barkat out the ball immediately after being hit for a 6, and then he pinned Chris Carter LBW with a lovely slider in his 3rd over! KCC were now 143/5 with 10 balls left in the innings, skipper Atkinson going along nicely at the other end. Jason Davidson was the new batter in and survived three dangerous deliveries from the HKCC legspinner before hitting a fulltoss to the deep for a single on the final ball. Luke finishing his 3 over spell with 3/18, leaving KCC 2 runs to win in the final over. This was exactly the same situation these two sides found themselves in the last time they played, and yet again it was Haroon Arshad entrusted with the ball. Davidson blunted a full-toss straight to mid-off for no run the first delivery, but managed to connect with a pull shot on the second ball, bringing Atkinson back on strike with the scores level. The KCC skipper then wrapped the game up for his side by drilling the next ball into the covers, where the fielder fumbled it just enough for the two batters to complete the winning run!
Congratulations to KCC for winning the Premier League T20 tournament! A big thank you to our sponsor Green Inc, and to Dream XI and FanCode for covering this tournament on their platforms. Thank you also to KCC for hosting the final, and to HKCC and Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground for hosting the group stage games. And last but not least, thank you to all the spectators and fans around the world for tuning in and showing their support. An exciting tournament was rewarded with an entertaining final and a worthy champion. KCC made it through the entire tournament unbeaten, with star allrounder Aizaz Khan picking up the Player of the Match award in the final, and the Player of the Tournament award as well!
- Nitesh Hemlani