HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

Shane Devcich was a very late replacement for the Gladiators but he was the chief destroyer taking three power play wickets, effecting a direct hit run out and was not out on 42 from 32 balls. Unsurprisingly he was awarded player of the match.

HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

HK Island United only mustered 28 for the loss of four wickets in their powerplay. James Franklin took the other wicket with HK veteran Moner Dar taking a one-handed screamer at deep square leg.

HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

The story only got worse as Hussain Talat was the victim of Devcich’s runout. He threw down the stumps at the bowler’s end from point after a mix up.

HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

Ahsan Abbasi and Zeeshan Ali went about mounting a rescue mission and put together a fighting 65 run partnership from 8.1 overs before Abbasi was caught in the deep with Moner Dar taking his second catch.

Ali was joined by skipper Tanwir Afzal and went up a gear playing some powerful shots all around the wicket, especially through (and over) mid off. He brought up his half century from 36 balls and was dismissed in the last over going for another maximum.

HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

Tanwir slogged 25 off 14 and HKIU finished on 158/7. A relatively modest total considering the agreed par score at the ground should be somewhere between 175-185.

Kumar Sangakkara loosened up after a slow start yesterday, getting 35 from 18 balls. He was dismissed by the left arm spin of Murtaza after a brisk partnership of 76 in 5.4 overs. This brought Devcich and Delport together who dispatched the leather, cork and twine to all parts of downtown Kowloon City hitting the winning runs on the second ball of the sixteenth over.

HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

They put on 76 in 8.2 overs and by the time the United score was passed the run rate was just a tick under 10, boding well for fans of high scoring matches as the tournament continues into its fourth day on Friday.

HKI United vs Galaxy Gladiators Lantau during Match day 3 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 8 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

Friday (Day Four) Matches

10am   Galaxy Gladiators Lantau v Hung Hom JD Jaguars

2pm     Kowloon Cantons v City Kaitak

Match 6 – likely teams and fantasy players in bold

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau Hung Hom JD Jaguars
Muhammad Balal Nizakat Khan
Kumar Sangakkara (c) (SL), Kinchit Shah
Cameron Delport (RSA), Rikki Wessels
Anton Devcich (NZ) Johan Botha (RSA/Sydney Sixers)
Shahid Wasif, Roelof van der Merwe (Ned)
James Franklin (NZ) Darren Sammy (WI)
Moner Dar Ben Laughlin (Aus)
Imran Arif Ninad Shah
Jade Dernbach (ENG) Nadeem Ahmed
Daniel Pascoe Tanveer Ahmed
Haroon Arshad Li Kai-ming (Dragon) Kyle Christie

 

Both teams are coming off emphatic victories so this should be a cracker under sunny skies and warmer temperatures. In his post match press conference Kumar Sangakkara highlighted that it is important not to lose sight of the talent in thelocal players and whilst we saw a glimpse of Nizakat’s power in Game 5 he is still yet to really fire. If he is able to get the Jags off to one of his trademark swashbuckling starts, a score of 200+ will be on the cards.

That is not to talk down the Lantau team who were excellent in their demolition of Hong Kong Island United on Thursday afternoon. Their bowlers stuck to their plans very well and there was the catch of the tournament thus far – and will take some beating – by verteran Moner Dar showing that age shall not weary one who works as hard on his game as Moner still does.

After getting both my predictions wrong on Day three these probably don’t hold much weight anymore (!!) but after seeing the Jaguars performance against the Cantons it’s hard not to pick them for this match too.

After watching Devport and Devcich bat today however, it might be a lot closer than any one might have through coming into this tournament!

Match 7 – likely teams and fantasy players in bold

Kowloon Cantons City Kaitak
Dwayne Smith (WI) Anshuman Rath
Babar Hayat (c) Kyle Coetzer (Sco)
Samit Patel (Eng) Jamie Atkinson (W/K)
Ashar Zaidi (Eng) Ravi Bopara
Adeel Shafique Aizaz Khan
Ryan Buckley Umar Mohammad
Simandeep Singh Waqas Barkat
Wahab Riaz (Pak) Sohail Tanvir (Pak)
Paul van Meekeren (Ned) Rayad Emrit (WI)
Ehsan Nawaz Samuel Badree
Bobby Chan (Dragon) Raag Kapur or Sigfried Wei

 

The replay of last year’s final will feature a Cantons side looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to the Jaguars on Day Four. Big Dwayne (“DR”) Smith, after being on the end of a first ball LBW that probably pitched outside leg, will be dead keen to turn his tournament around after lighting up the Blitz last year.

The City Kaitak performance will depend heavily on the top four batters of Rath, Coetzer, Atkinson & Bopara. If Coetzer can continue his great form following on from his century in Game Two and the Kaitak lads can bat around him, whilst not allowing the spin of Patel and Zaidi to slow them down too much they will be hard to beat.

Aizaz Khan has been in great form for the City Sports franchise which is very encouraging for the Hong Kong team leading into the World Cup qualifiers in a few weeks.

With both sides enjoying batters who enjoy pace on the ball it will be the team that plays the spin and change of pace best that will get up in this contest.

Being an ex-Cantons player it is hard for me to tip against my old team (and whose dinner I was lucky enough to be invited to on Tuesday night) and I know at least one of the owners (Aparna Shankar in case I go missing) will not be happy with me at all (!!) but I’m leaning towards a Kaitak victory.

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