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Premier League One Day - First Round Review - 15th March 2020

11 April 2020

DLSWCC DLIT 299/7 in 50 overs (Ehsan Khan 132, Waqas Khan 89, Isaac Poole 5/73) beat HKCC 217 a/o (Ben Zanol 54, Mohsin Khan 4/32, Aftab Hussain 3/42) by 82 runs.
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The first game of the 2020 Premier League OD tournament was held at the Hong Kong Cricket Club, where the hosts took on Diasqua Little Sai Wan DLIT. This match was broadcast live on YouTube, so be sure to head over to our channel and check it out!

The HKCC side was slightly understrength, with the two Shah brothers and Raag Kapur all currently out of town. DLSW did manage to field a full-strength side, with the likes of Ehsan Khan (captaining the team), Waqas Khan, Mohsin Khan, Shahid Wasif, Aftab Hussain and Haroon Arshad all returning from representing HK at the Interport T20I series and the ACC Eastern Region T20 Tournament. Skipper and veteran off-spinner Isaac Poole won the toss for HKCC and opted to field first.

His decision was justified right away, with former HK quick bowler Tanveer Ahmed trapping the in-form Shahid Wasif LBW on the very first ball of the game! The perfect start for the home side. Aftab Hussain, sent up as opener, found the fence of a few occasions, but was the 2nd wicket to fall, caught well by Brett Long in gully off the bowling of another former HK quick, Adil Mehmood, for 14. After 7.1 overs, DLSWCC were 30/2, and HKCC were on top.

Waqas Khan, batting at 3, was joined by Ehsan Khan, and together the pair proceeded to bat DLSW into a position of strength. They spent the remainder of the first hour consolidating, taking DLSWCC DLIT to 66/2 at the first drinks break (taken after 18 overs). However, by the time the second drinks break had rolled around, DLSWCC DLIT were in a dominating position – 185/2 in 35 overs.

The chief architect of this turnaround was Ehsan, who mixed in powerful straight drives with well-timed sweeps, bringing up his 50 in the 25th over off just 56 balls. Waqas Khan played a much more subdued, but equally important hand, and brought up his own 50 four overs later, off 97 balls. Isaac Poole tried every option at his disposal -Tanveer and Adil, right-arm quick Charlie Wallis, tall left-arm spinner Elliot Scrivener, legspinner Luke Jones, and Isaac himself- but to no avail. The pair put on 190 runs in 196, with Ehsan bringing up his 100 in the 40th over, off exactly 100 balls. DLSW were 220/2, and looking at a score in excess of 300.

The very next ball, the skipper himself finally broke through, dismissing Waqas Khan caught at deep midwicket for 89 off 127 balls. He then sent back the dangerous Haroon Arshad LBW for a golden duck in the same over, and dismissed Ibraheem Ishaq a couple of overs later, clawing his side back into the game. Ehsan Khan kept finding the fence though, adding a further 32 runs in 20 deliveries until he was finally dismissed – David Jacquier pulling off a smart stumping behind the wickets, Isaac Poole the bowler yet again. Poole then dismissed the legendary Munir Dar to complete an excellent 5-wicket haul. But the runs kept flowing for the visitors, and Ehsan Ayaz took 13 runs off Tanveer Ahmed in the final over as DLSWCC finished on 299/7 in their 50 overs. HKCC needing exactly 300 to win their first game of the Premier League OD tournament.

Brett Long and David Jacquier opened the batting for HKCC against DLSW’s two left-arm swing bowlers – Mohsin Khan and Dhananjay Rao. They started solidly – Jacquier finding the fence of Rao on four occasions, and the score ticking over to 37/0 in 8 overs. However, an attempted quick single would be their undoing - Munir Dar scoring a direct hit from mid-wicket to run-out Long for 5 off 21. Jacquier continued to proceed well, and put on 48 runs in the next 10 overs with Benjamin Zanol. However he was dismissed two short of what would have been a well deserved 50, out LBW to Aftab Hussain shortly after the drinks break. Reid Mawdsely joined Zanol in the middle, and the pair put together HKCC’s most productive batting partnership with 78 runs off 89 balls. Both batsmen were severe on anything short from the young DLSW quick bowlers, whilst showing respect to the senior spinners. At the 2nd drinks break (32 overs), HKCC were 159/2, and the match was evenly poised.

Everything changed the 2nd over after drinks, with Mohsin Khan breaking the back of HKCC’s batting in an incredible passage of play

It all started with Mawdsely middling a pull shot on the 2nd ball of the over, but hitting it straight to Ehsan Ayaz at deep square leg, who took a well judged catch. Two balls later, Benjamin Zanol miscued a pull to midwicket, where Dhananjay Rao took a sharp catch to his right. Both set batsmen had been dismissed in the space of 3 balls, and DLSWCC were back in the game.

But Mohsin Khan was not done yet! Coming around the wicket, he managed to trap Ryan Buckley LBW the first ball he faced, and got Elliot Scrivener to nick the final ball if the over to Waqas Khan at slip! A hattrick - the first of the PL OD tournament – and 4 wickets in the over for Mohsin Khan, and just like that DLSW were in charge of the game!

From there on in HKCC’s chase petered out. Luke Jones played a few nice shots, but was eventually dismissed caught behind to Dhananjay Rao, in another over that yielded two wickets for DLSW. Aftab Hussain nabbed two more wickets too, and some late sixes and dropped catches entertained the fans briefly, before the hosts were bowled out for 217 in 46.2 overs. A comprehensive victory for DLSWCC to kick off the tournament!

KCC 202/3 in 31 overs (Rory Cox 84*, Simandeep Singh 53) beat USRC 201/9 in 50 overs (Awais Mohammad Snr 70*, Ateeq Iqbal 3/51) by 7 wickets
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The second game of the 2020 PLOD tournament kicked off 30 minutes later at The Kowloon Cricket Club. The hosts, KCC, were fielding a full-strength side, with HK players Aizaz Khan, Jamie Atkinson, Nizakat Khan and Waqas Barkat all in the XI. United Service Recreation Club were without the services of senior batting allrounder Ahsan Abbasi and fielded a young side that, while short on experience, had plenty of depth in batting and bowling. This match was played on the Artifical pitch, as the turf pitches could not be prepared in time due to the short notice confirmation of this game.

Former Sussex and Worcestershire quick bowler Imran Arif won the toss for USRC, and elected to bat first. He opened the batting with former KCC junior cricket Ismail Awan, who was dismissed by Aizaz Khan in the 2nd over, out clean bowled for 1. Imran and former Hong Kong batsman Ali Skhawat rebuilt, but were both dismissed within 3 balls of each other – Imran caught by Barkat in the slips off Aizaz, and Skhawat bowled by one that seamed away late from Ateeq Iqbal. USRC 43/3 in 10.1 one overs and in trouble. Wickets kept on falling as USRC struggled to out together a partnership, and at 98/6 in 35 overs, it seemed like 200 would be out of the question.

But that’s when Awais Mohammad counter attacked. The number 8 hit 70 runs off just 52 balls, and was particularly brutal on the KCC quick bowlers – hitting Aizaz, Davidson and Ateeq for 5 sixes in the final 8 overs of the innings. He put on 47 runs with Khan Akbar in 48 balls, the latter having held the innings together during the middle order collapse. Akbar was dismissed for 33 off 102 balls in the 43rd over, and KCC made a few more quick breakthroughs after that, but Awais hit 25 runs in the final 2 overs with the number 11 Shan Raja -who only faced 1 ball- to lift his side to 202/9 in their 50 overs. A below-par score, but something for the USRC bowlers to work with.

After the lunch break, USRC bowled aggressively looking for early wickets, and they got off to a great start - Sheryar Khan dismissing the dangerous Nizakat Khan caught behind in the 3rd over for 1, KCC 16/1.

But that’s the only success they would have for some time. Rory Cox and KCC skipper Jamie Atkinson showed their class in putting on 70 runs in the next 10 overs. They hit 6 fours and 3 sixes in this phase, and when Atkinson was dismissed by left arm spinner Shan Raja -comfortably the best USRC bowler on show- KCC were 86/2 and required only 3.5 per over to win.

Simandeep Singh joined Rory Cox in the middle and picked up where Jamie left off. The former national squad batsman stated his case for a recall, hitting 53 off just 47 deliveries in another rapid partnership. Rory Cox brought up his fifty as well, off 84 balls, and together the pair took the game away from USRC, with 96 runs in 93 deliveries.

Simandeep was dismissed in the 29th over with just another 20 runs needed to win, and Rory Cox ensured quick finish to the match after that, belting Huzafah Mohammad for 17 runs in the 31st over to win the game.

With that win, KCC take 1st place in the table, with a NRR of 2.332. DLSW are in 2nd, with a NRR of 1.455. Despite being on the losing side, Awais Mohammad was awarded the Player of The Match award.

- Nitesh Hemlani