Hong Kong CC remain unbeaten in Men’s Premier League T20 tournament

Nizakat Khan Hong Kong
Nizakat Khan in action

After four match days, Hong Kong CC are the sole team to remain unbeaten in the Hong Kong Men’s Premier League T20 Tournament. Only a big loss to Diasqua LSWCC coupled with a Kowloon CC win over United Services will see the islanders knocked off their perch and potentially miss out on a spot in the Final. Pakistan HK are guaranteed the wooden spoon, having lost all four of its group matches.

A mid-innings downpour brought Duckworth Lewis into play on match day three, with both teams batting first coming out on top. Former Hong Kong captain Babar Hayat’s innings of 81 from 50 balls propelled Kowloon CC to a 60-run win against Diasqua LSWCC. Hayat hit nine 6s in his innings, and by the time he fell, Kowloon CC were 126/2 at the start of the 16th over. Ehsan Khan (3-43 off four overs) and medium-pacer Tanveer Ahmed (3-22 off four overs) limited the damage, but Kowloon finished on 165/6.

Chasing 98 off 9.1 overs under the D/L calculus, Diasqua LSWCC finished nowhere close. Jason Davidson (4-15 off three overs) did most of the damage, accounting for opener Ibraheem and first drop Rupasinghe with the first two balls of the reply. With five wickets down after the three overs, Diasqua LSWCC sought to preserve wickets and protect what remained of their NRR, concluding their innings on 37/6.

The second match of the day took an almost identical course. Batting first, Hong Kong CC’s Nizakat Khan scored 87 off 52 balls, trumping Hayat’s nine maximum with ten of his own. Khan fell in the 19th over with the score on 154/4, having shared in a 78-run partnership with Kinchit Shah (32 off 44 balls), who played the anchor role to perfection. Tanwir Afzal produced a miserly spell of fast-bowling in amongst the carnage, finishing with 1-12 off four overs, and ably supported by Hassan Khan Mohammad (2-24 off 4 overs).

Nizakat Khan Hong Kong
Hong Kong CC’s Nizakat Khan scored successive fifties on match days 3 and four (Photo: Cricket Hong Kong)

Chasing 71 runs in their allotted nine overs, Pakistan HK never got going against Hong Kong CC’s spinners. Left-arm orthodox spinner Eliot Scrivener and captain Shah bowled a combined four overs for 13 runs, snaring a wicket. Opener Hamed Khan remained not out on 25 at a strike rate of 73.52 as Pakistan HK finished 31 runs short.

Match day four saw both chasing sides win comfortably. United Services lost two early wickets against Hong Kong CC, but a 59-run partnership between Waqas Khan and Skhawat Ali guided them to 137/5 in 20 overs. Khan was unbeaten on 59 from 50 balls, clubbing three maximums in the process, Kinchit Shah (1-19 off four overs) and Haroon Arshad (2-29 off four overs) the pick of the bowlers.

In response, openers Martin Coetzee and Nizakat Khan combined for a century stand to take Hong Kong CC home by nine wickets. Coetzee fell to Rameez Raja for 52 off 47 balls, but Khan took his side home in the 19th over with 66 off 55 balls and four 6s. Haroon Arshad delivered the final blows in his 19-run cameo off seven balls.

Elsewhere Diasqua LSWCC chased chased down Pakistan HK’s meagre total of 80 in 14 overs, winning the tie by eight wickets, to stay in contention for a spot in the Final. Pakistan HK had no partnerships of note in their innings, Anas Khan holding one end for 12 overs and finishing with 31 not out off 33 balls. Ehsan Khan was once again the pick of the bowlers with 2-6 off 3.4 overs.

Mohammad Ibraheem scored the bulk of Diasqua’s runs in the chase. His 57 not out off 49 balls included a period negotiating the guile of Tanwir Afzal, whose figures of 1-12 off three overs belied the result.

The last match day of the group stage takes place tomorrow with another double header before the Final on Friday 1 October 2021.

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