Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

2018 HKT20 Blitz – The FINAL

One, a pre-tournament favourite and the other, a rank dark-horse who kept everyone guessing as to which International players will take the field until their first group match. However, after five days of pulsating T20 action at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, the dark-horses have suddenly become front-runners to lift their maiden title on 11th Feb 2018. Will Galaxy Gladiators cross the finish line or will JD Jaguars continue their consistent performances to lift the 2018 title??

Darren Sammy (R) speaks with skipper Kinchit Shah | Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Phoebe Leung / Ike Images

Tim Cutler previews the Grand Finale:

2018 HKT20 Blitz Final – Probable Playing XIs and My Fantasy Picks

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 (Sydney Sixers) (vc)
James Franklin (NZ) Roelof van der Merwe (Ned)
Moner Dar Darren Sammy (WI)
Shahid Wasif Ben Laughlin (Aus)
Imran Arif Ninad Shah
Jade Dernbach (ENG) Nadeem Ahmed
Daniel Pascoe Tanveer Ahmed
Haroon Arshad Kyle Christie

 

It all comes down to game number eleven of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz’s third edition; the final. Both teams sealed their finals berths with emphatic victories on Saturday.

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Phoebe Leung / Ike Images

The Jaguars came into this year’s tournament having recruited well – especially with the addition of Dutch all-rounder Roelof van der Merwe and Adelaide Strikers hero, Ben Laughlin. Local stars Nizakat Khan and Nadeem Ahmed have not really fired yet, notwithstanding Nadeem’s 3/28 on Saturday’s turning deck – so for me, this side still has some left in the tank.

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

The Galaxy Gladiators Lantau have surprised everyone except perhaps their evangelical owners. The leadership shown by Kumar Sangakkara has been a sight to behold and what he has got out of his team, including late replacement overseas players, and Hong Kong players who aren’t in the SAR’s top squad has been a pleasure to watch. Adding to the fact he has back to back centuries bodes very well for Lantau’s chances of a maiden premiership.

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

Inevitably, however, this all comes down to that man. If Sanga scores big runs, Lantau will lift the trophy. If he fails, I can’t see the Gladiators bettering the Hung Hom squad. He has been in imperious form that last two matches and it will take something special to remove him.

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

However, I just think the class across the Jaguars’ squad will be able to squeeze Sangakkara out and see the Gladiators off with the depth they have on batting and bowling. As I write that however, it’s just as likely Sangakkara goes further than he has in the last two and scores his maiden T20 century to take Gladiators home in what will be an extremely unlikely but entertaining victory.

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

Sangakkara also played down doubts over availability of Anton Devcich in the Final in his interview to Tim Cutler (YouTube Link). Devcich has been crucial in the Galaxy Galdiators campaign so far with both bat and ball and Sangakkara will be hoping for another good outing by the Northern Knights all-rounder.

Galaxy Gladiators Lantau vs Hung Hom JD Jaguars during Match day 4 of Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 at Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground, Kowloon,, Hong Kong, on 9 February 2018, Hong Kong SAR, China. Photo by : Ike Li / Ike Images

I’m excited to see how Sangakkara uses Haroon Arshad and Imraf Arif  – both players have been in special form during this tournament which laments well for their future in Hong Kong Cricket. Likewise with “Gangsta Rap” Pascoe, who will surely bowl in the power play again as he did against GGL & CKT.

Any questions during the game, just tweet me at www.twitter.com/timcutler.

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