23 October 2020
Game 3 – KCC vs HKCC at HKCC
Co-written with Yaqzaan Rajan
Both teams have started off the tournament by winning their opening games. KCC sits at the top of the table due to their superior Net Run Rate as they beat USRC courtesy a brilliant all-round performance by Aizaz Khan, the national team captain who also bagged the man of the match award for his four-fer combined with being the joint 2nd highest individual run scorer.
HKCC also wasted no time to get onto the winning path as the new additions to their team seemed to have gelled together well with the mainstays of HKCC. Martin Coetzee stole the show with his 131 not out on his Premier league debut while Charlie Wallis, who has been serving HKCC for quite some time, bowled very well whenever he was brought on and was undoubtedly the pick of the bowlers.
Players to watch out for:
Kinchit Shah (HKCC): Kinchit is used as a wicket taking option by his team and past records suggest that he is not afraid to bowl at any stage of the innings be it the powerplay or the death overs. Not to forget, he bats in the Top 3 and looked good for his 23 off 18 balls in the first match too.
Rory Cox (KCC): The southpaw’s 16 off 10 balls vs USRC is his lowest score out of 4 innings at Premier League level so far. He has been promoted up to number 3 this season, and it will be interesting to see how he goes for the remainder of this tournament.
Luke Jones (HKCC): The former MCC player was having a very decent outing with 2 wickets for 16 runs before Ehsan Khan decided to blast him for 30 runs in his third over. Given that his batting skills cannot be ignored either and the home ground advantage, Luke might be a handy player in this match.
Dan Pascoe (KCC): The Oxford PhD, CityU professor and former first-class cricketer has been a phenomenal performer in HK Club Cricket for KCC for quite some time now. His left-arm spin has fetched him 26 wickets in 18 PLT20 games, with an economy of just 5.31. His 3 overs against USRC cost him just 10 runs and yielded him the wicket of the dangerous Awais Mohammad Snr. Definitely one to keep an eye on when he comes up against the HKCC batting.
16 year old offspinner Ahan Trivedi had a spectacular PLT20 debut, taking 2 wickets in the only 2 balls he bowled against USRC! Never has a bowler taken 2 wickets in their first 2 balls on Premier League debut. Not only has Ahan made his history, but he enters this game with a chance to make that into a hattrick the first ball he bowls. Another fun fact is that he has already dismissed Martin Coetzee once this season – in a Sunday Elite League game between KCC Infidels and HKCC Scorpions. It will be interesting to see if his captain will give him the ball early this time around.
Game 4 – USRC vs PACC at TKRRG
The last time these two teams played each other was right at the start of the 2019-20 PLT20, where PACC blew away USRC in what was USRC’s first ever appearance at the Premier League.
USRC come into this rematch off a rough loss to KCC last weekend, but that game was not without it’s positives. Their bowlers put in a good shift to keep KCC to just 141, with Ali Mohammad and Ehsan Muhammad taking 3 wickets apiece. The batting however misfired massively, and they will need more runs if they are to compete.
Meanwhile PACC are the defending champions, and their squad is as strong as ever. The likes of Tanwir Afzal, Babar Hayat and Ehsan Nawaz are proven performers are International level for Hong Kong, while Yasim Murtaza and Zeeshan Ali are experienced domestic cricketers from Pakistan, who have put up good numbers in HK club cricket for a few seasons now. Hassan Khan Mohammad, Nusrullah Rana and Hamed Khan are all exciting prospects currently in the national setup, while the likes of Manjinder ‘Sunny’ Singh, Mohammad Ishtiaq, Daniyal Bukhari and Balal Muhammad have served the club with distinction for many years. It’s hard to find a weak spot in this side, and they will certainly look to challenge for the title yet again.
Click HERE to watch Trent Johnston preview the PACC team!
TKRRG will also play host to it’s first PL game of the season. It is the biggest of the three grounds to be used in the PLT20, and has only been open for a couple of weeks. It's not sure how the pitch will play, but given it's relatively fresh, expect it to be fairly decent to bat on.
Players to watch out for:
Ehsan Muhammad (USRC): Only 18 years of age, Ehsan Muhammad has been very impressive since his PLT20 debut last season. The left arm spinner has 10 wickets from 4 games, at a remarkable SR of 7.80 and economy of 5.92. He bagged 3 wickets against a strong KCC batting lineup, including 2 former HK international batsmen in Simandeep Singh and Chris Carter, and the promising left-hander Rory Cox.
Hamed Khan (PACC): A technically correct batsman who is currently in the HK national team setup and a brilliant fielder, Hamed will be looking for opportunities to bat at the top of the order for PACC, and to put in some performances that will help him establish his place both at club and national level.
Shahid Wasif (USRC): Shahid was the biggest signing for USRC during the off-season, and is free from the responsibility of keeping wickets for the club, which means big things are expected from him with the bat. He came in at 3 and hit a couple of boundaries at KCC before a rash shot brought an end to his innings. He will be determined to put in a better showing this weekend.
Ehsan Nawaz (PACC): The fast bowling allrounder played most of the 2019-20 season as a batsman, bowling in only 4 out of 7 Sunday Elite games, not at all in the PLT20, and delivering just 4 overs in the annual 2-Day game vs DLSW. Having not bowled a ball in competitive cricket in nearly a year, it will be interesting to see if he bowls this weekend. Hi batting, in the meanwhile, has been explosive, especially opening in T20 cricket. Don’t rule out another explosive start from the 25 year old.
- 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!