13 November 2020
It’s week 5 of the Premier League, and what a Sunday we have in store! The unbeaten KCC side have secured a spot in the #PLT20 finals, but who they will face will be determined by the results of the final 2 group stage games! And earlier in the day, the Bauhinia Stars will look to bounce back and level the 3-match series against Jade Jets in the 2nd game of the WPL! Plenty of action coming your way this Sunday, read on to learn more!
WPL Game 2 Preview – Bauhinia Stars vs Jade Jets
The Jade Jets romped home to a massive 72 run victory in the first WPL game last month. Skipper Pull To led the way, scoring 50 and taking 5 catches, with the Bauhinia Stars batters struggling to get going in the chase.
Over the season so far several players from both squads have shown form in the domestic T20 League. From the Jade Jets, Mariko Hill has topped the batting, with 246 runs in 5 innings in the Women’s T20 League, including 121 not out for the HKCC Willow Wielders in the lead up to WPL match one. She’s followed by compatriot Jet, Keenu Gill, with 119 runs in 5 innings and a highest score of 46 not out. Shanzeen Shahzad of the Bauhinia Stars is their leading batter, and the only other woman to cross 100 runs so far, with 111 runs and a highest score of 53 not out for the DLSW Wasps. With the ball, Keenu Gill tops the charts, having taken 8 wickets for the KCC Maidens at an average of just 7.5 and an economy of 3.0. Ruchita Venkatesh marked a successful return to bowling after an ACL injury, taking a 5-wicket haul for the HKCC Willow Wielders in her first spell of the season, also putting her just behind Keenu on wickets with 6, which is also matched Rida Haider (KCC Maidens) and Rajvir Kaur (DLSW Wasps) – both of whom are Jade Jets.
There have also been some notable performances by WPL players when representing the CHK Women’s Performance Squad in the U15 Boy’s T20 League. Shanzeen Shahzad of the Bauhinia Stars is the leading run scorer, having hit 128 runs in 4 innings with a high score of 75 not out. Stars skipper Kary Chan has hit 81 runs in 3 innings at a SR of 102.53, and Stars opening batter Emma Lai has 80 runs in 4 innings as well. With the ball, Iqra Sahar of the Jets has had the greatest impact, taking 8 wickets in 4 games at an average of 4.75 and an economy of 3.45, including a spell of 6 wickets for just 2 runs. Other performers with the ball being Alison Siu and Kary Chan of the Stars with 5 wickets each at averages of 5.8 and 6.2, and economies of 4.14 and 3.00 respectively.
With a number of players in form in the domestic leagues it is likely to come down to who can transfer that form into the WPL match two. The Bauhinia Stars will need to come back strongly, particularly with the bat, if they are to level the series, and Kary has spoken about adapting some of their bowling and fielding tactics to better counter the Jet’s batters. Jade Jet’s captain Pull To, on the other hand, has spoken about continuing the good work from the last game, with an emphasis on building partnerships and further tightening up their bowling and fielding.
PLT20 Game 9 Preview – USRC vs HKCC
USRC are out of the running for the final, but they still have an opportunity to make an impact this tournament. Not only are they still playing for their first ever PL win, but now they have a chance to deny the pre-tournament favourites a spot in the final as well!
In order to do that, USRC’s batting will have to fire. They have been improving steadily as the tournament goes on, with scores of 75 a/o, 119 a/o and then 121/6. Umar Mohammad hit USRC’s 3rd ever PL fifty (2nd ever in the T20 format) last weekend and, despite missing Shahid Wasif, USRC’s batters were able to mount a reasonable challenge against a strong DLSW bowling attack. However, they will need to step it up once again if they are going to post a competitive score against HKCC. Their batsmen might enjoy the more batting-friendly conditions at HKCC, and with nothing to lose they may be able to express themselves a bit more freely.
However, simply getting runs on the board will not be enough to topple this strong HKCC side. USRC will also need to bowl exceptionally well, with the likes of Martin Coetzee, Kinchit Shah and Luke Jones all looking in dangerous form with the bat. The rest of the HKCC lineup have contributed too, and Nizakat Khan has reportedly return to training as well. His return would make an in-form side even more formidable.
Players to Watch Out For:
Shan Raja (USRC): A USRC stalwart and a cunning left arm spinner. He has opened the bowling for USRC and has done well this tournament, with an economy rate of 6.18 across the three games. The 6 overs he has bowled within the powerplay have gone for just 23 runs and have yielded 2 of his 3 wickets so far! How he goes against the HKCC top order will be one of the defining battles of this game.
Umar Mohammad (USRC): the left-handed wicketkeeper batsman has been on the fringes of national selection for some time and has been playing at the Premier League level since 2012. He will be relieved to have finally made his mark at this level – his 50 against DLSW being the first time he’s crossed 50 in the PLT20! He is currently USRC’s leading run scorer of the tournament, and they will be hoping that this innings was not just a flash in the pan.
Adil Mehmood (HKCC) – The tall HKCC coach and former HK international quick bowler missed out on the first game against DLSW but returned to the XI against KCC due to an injury to Charlie Wallis. His two overs in the powerplay against KCC went for only 9 runs, and then against PACC he dismissed Balal Muhammad and Tanwir Afzal in the first 3 overs, finishing with figures of 2/21! Adil brings pace, bounce and a lot of experience to the side, and will be looking to put in another strong spell to get his team into the final, and to potentially catch the attention of HK Men’s head coach Trent Johnson who will be watching from the sidelines.
Luke Jones (HKCC): The HKCC coach and former MCC young cricketer has been on the receiving end of the two most expensive overs in the tournament so far. He was taken for 30 runs by a rampaging Ehsan Khan, and then for 25 runs as Aizaz Khan pulled off an excellent run chase. But put those two overs aside and his remaining 7 overs of legspin have only gone for only 32 runs, producing 4 wickets as well! His innings of 46* off 24 was crucial to get HKCC to a competitive score against KCC too, and he played a key role in HKCC’s win over PACC, conceding just 5 runs in 2 overs and scoring a direct hit to runout Babar Hayat! T20 cricket is all about impact players, and Luke has had an impact with bat, ball and in the field. Definitely one to keep an eye on this Sunday.
PLT20 Game 10 Preview – DLSW vs PACC
One of the great rivalries of HK cricket, the matches between DLSW and PACC never fail to entertain. The last time these two sides faced each other in the Premier League, it was in the Quaid I Azam Trophy – a 2-Day game which saw DLSW come from behind to pull off an outrageous victory. The last time they faced each other in the PLT20, PACC won a low scoring thriller by just 2 wickets! This time around, these two sides are not only driven by the history between the two clubs, but also for that last spot in the PLT20 final!
DLSW are currently in a better position to qualify, courtesy of their superior NRR. Their bowling seems to be returning to form, but the batting is still heavily reliant on Ehsan and Waqas Khan – the two of them scoring 47.5% of DLSW’s runs so far! The next highest run scorer for DLSW is spinner Aftab Hussain, who has enhanced his batting reputation over the course of this tournament.
PACC’s batting has not fared much better. Babar Hayat (113 runs) has scored more runs this tournament than the next 3 highest run scorers for PACC combined! But his highest score is just 40, and he has been relatively sedate, scoring at a SR of 110.78. The PACC bowling has generally fared well this tournament, but young fast bowler Hassan Khan Mohammad has gone at nearly 13 RPO in his 9 overs so far! He’ll be under pressure to deliver in this final group game. Expect the DLSW batsmen to go after him.
Of course, if HKCC do get over on USRC, then neither side will qualify for the final. But that does not mean the result of this game will be inconsequential – players from both sides will tell you how important it is to them that their club come out on top in this rivalry.
Players to Watch Out For:
Zeeshan Ali (PACC): The former Pakistani FC wicketkeeper/batsman has yet to get going with the bat this season, with just 28 runs in 3 innings, which included a run-out with Babar that saw them both stranded at the same end! He has hit a century in the Sunday League this season and can take apart a bowling attack when in form. Has played some crucial innings in the past, including a knock of 52 that helped PACC win the 2019-20 PLT20! PACC will need him to find that form again this Sunday.
Anas Khan (PACC): Left arm spin is dominating the PLT20 this season, and Anas Khan is part of this movement. He was part of the championship winning PACC PLT20 side last season but transferred over to DLSW immediately after to seek more opportunities. He then left DLSW at the start of this season to play for Vagabonds CC in the Sunday League, and now finds himself back in the PACC PLT20 side yet again! This time around he has been entrusted with the new ball and has picked up 4 wickets at an economy of just 6.83. He can hit the ball a long way too, as evident by his 34 off 17 balls vs HKCC. He hit the winning runs the last time these two sides played, and could have a key role to play against this Sunday.
Waqas Khan (DLSW): Waqas has been DLSW’s In-form batsman for some time now, with 304 runs at 33.78 across all three formats of Premier League cricket in the last two seasons. As such, he has now taken on more responsibility by moving up to open the batting, and how he goes against Tanwir Afzal and co. will set the tone for the rest of the innings.
Ghazanfar Mohammad (DLSW): The tall legspinner has bounced back well after getting taken apart by Martin Coetzee in the first PLT20 game, with figures of 3-0-13-1 vs KCC and 4-0-15-0 vs USRC. Last time he played PACC he was entrusted with defending 7 runs from the final over, but was hit for 6 off the penultimate ball by Anas Khan. He will be determined to get a win back for his side this Sunday, and how he bowls to Babar, Tanwir, Yasim and Zeeshan in the middle overs will be fascinating to watch.
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