20 November 2020
The big day is finally upon us. After 10 games spread over 5 weeks, we have now reached the Grand Final of the Premier League T20! KCC will take on HKCC this Sunday in order to determine who walks away with the trophy. Read on for our preview of this tantalising finale!
PLT20 Grand Final Preview – KCC vs HKCC
Hong Kong’s oldest rivalry takes centre stage this Sunday, with The Hong Kong Cricket Club making the journey across the harbour to take on the unbeaten Kowloon Cricket Club side in the final of the PLT20. KCC were unbeaten during the group stages, handing HKCC their only loss of the tournament. There is no doubt that these two sides deserve a spot in the final, and we should have a cracking game in store for us.
About last time
The last time these two sides played each other was a month ago, where KCC defeated HKCC on their home turf in a low-scoring encounter. Jason Davidson dismissed Martin Coetzee on the very first ball of the match, which is incredibly significant given his 3 other innings in the group stage have yielded scores of 131*, 72 and 79! This was followed by 16-year old off-spinner Ahan Trivedi taking 3 wickets for just 22 runs in what is, to date, his only full spell in a PLT20 game! He bowled 2 balls in KCC’s first game against USRC, taking wickets off both, but did not bowl at all in KCC’s last two matches (against PACC and DLSW). KCC allrounder and HK captain Aizaz Khan then hit a match winning 81* in the chase but has scored just 29 runs in 41 balls for twice dismissed since that game. Adil Mehmood was selected as an injury-replacement for Charlie Wallis and has since gone on to be their leading quick bowler, following up his 0/9 vs KCC with 5 wickets for 45 runs against PACC and USRC.
“We have played some great all-round cricket in the preliminary stages. A number of players have stepped up every game to make us hard to beat. HKCC have also produced some consistent performances across the competition and they deserve their place in the final. We have had some close games with them in the past and we are looking forward to playing them in the final on Sunday” – KCC Captain Jamie Atkinson
“We are very excited to be playing KCC in the final after our closely fought match in the round robin. Both teams are very strong and evenly matched in all departments, so all of the spectators and online viewers will be in for another great game!
Making a final is always a special occasion and we will be looking to play with the same level of enjoyment, passion and freedom that has served us so well in the lead up to this game. I’m really looking forward to seeing our HKCC players express themselves and put in some dominant performance that will hopefully see HKCC lift their third PLT20 trophy in the last four seasons.” – HKCC Captain Elliot Scrivener
KCC’s playing XI has remained more less unchanged throughout the competition. Devang Bulsara played the opening match against USRC before being replaced by Ashley Caddy, and Sunny Bhimsaria replaced Rory Cox against PACC due to injury. Those changes aside, they have fielded the same team every match, so expect no changes going into this game.
Click HERE to watch Trent Johnston and Aizaz Khan discuss KCC's chances for the Final!
HKCC, on the other hand, will have a few selection headaches, having used 15 players over the course of the 4 games. Charlie Wallis seems to still be side-lined due to injury, and it is unlikely that youngster Ayush Shukla will get a chance in the final, which narrows down the selection dilemmas a little bit. With Nizakat Khan back from injury, it seems like Ninad Shah, Jack Metters and Adit Gorawara will all be competing for 1 spot in the final XI.
Click HERE to watch Trent Johnston and Kinchit Shah discuss HKCC's chances for the Final!
Aizaz Khan (KCC) vs Kinchit Shah (HKCC)
Allrounder vs Allrounder. Hong Kong Captain vs Hong Kong Vice Captain. The two national team stalwarts will end up facing against each other with both bat and ball, given they both bat in the Top 3 and bowl in the PowerPlay. Last time around, Kinchit scored 6 runs off the 7 balls he faced from Aizaz without getting out. Aizaz managed 7 runs off 8 balls against Kinchit, though that included a six in the 19th over of the chase when KCC needed 9 more to win. Both these players rate each other very highly, and whoever wins this battle will likely hold the trophy at the end of the game.
Martin Coetzee (HKCC) vs Jason Davidson (KCC)
Round 1 of this battle went to the ‘Namibian Nightmare’, as he got Martin edging behind for a golden duck. Despite that Martin is, by some distance, the highest run scorer in this competition. He has scored nearly 100 runs more than 2nd place on that list, has hit more 4s than the next two top boundary-hitters combined, and unsurprisingly has hit the most sixes too. Whether or not he can take HKCC to another large score will depend on how he negotiates Davidson, who has combined figures of 11-1-47-5 when bowling in the Powerplay this tournament!
Ahan Trivedi (KCC) vs HKCC’s left handers
The last time Ahan Trivedi bowled in this tournament was against HKCC, where he completed a hattrick with his first ball to Ninad Shah, and then dismissed Martin Versfeld and Rory Caines off consecutive deliveries. He has shown an ability to trouble left-handed batsman, and KCC have shown faith in him to perform that role at the various levels of club cricket, including in the PLT20. However, he has not been called on to bowl in KCC’s last two PLT20 matches, possibly due to the number of right-handed hitters in the oppositions’ lineups. Whether or not he will get a bowl in the Final will be interesting to see, and if he does bowl, he could have a big impact.
The KCC pitch has been the lowest scoring of the three used in the PLT20 this season, with an average score of 148 in the 1st innings, and just 95 2nd innings! Spinners have been particularly effective – they have taken more wickets (26 vs 19) at a better strike rate (11.15 vs 19.26) and a better economy rate (5.67 vs 7.25) than their pace bowling counterparts. It is also worth noting that this will be HKCC’s first PLT20 game on this surface. They will need to adapt quick if they are to topple the unbeaten KCC side.
Players to Watch Out For:
Daniel Pascoe (KCC) – Left-arm spinner Dan ‘The Professional’ Pascoe is the leading wicket-taker from the two finalists, and the 2nd highest wicket-taker for the tournament so far. He has bowled 15 overs in KCC’s 4 group stage games, taking 8 wickets at an average of just 8.38 and an incredible economy of 4.47! His 3-wicket hauls against PACC and DLSW were vital to KCC’s victories, and he will be looking to turn in another match-winning spell come this Sunday. He will also be looking to improve on his last game against HKCC, where he returned his worst figures of the tournament – 1/27 in 4 overs.
Luke Jones (HKCC) – The leg-spinning allrounder will have a big job to play this weekend and will draw inspiration from the last time he played KCC, where he hit 46* off 24 and took 3 wickets for 36 runs. This is despite going for 25 runs in a single over – something he will want to make amends for this time around.
Christopher Carter (KCC) – The young wicketkeeper-batsman has been tidy behind the stumps, and energetic when in front of them, scoring 60 runs in the 40 balls he’s faced for only twice dismissed. He top-scored vs USRC with 27 off 17 balls and helped lift KCC to a winning target against PACC with 20* off 13 balls. He is also the leading wicketkeeper in the tournament so far, with 6 dismissals in 4 games, though his counterpart Rory Caines (HKCC) has been involved with more run-outs.
- Nitesh Hemlani
All stats used for this article can be found via the Cricket Hong Kong App, powered by CricHeroes! Available now for download on the Play Store and App Store!