Hong Kong: Dwayne Smith capitalised on a first ball reprieve to produce a rapid half-century and lead Kowloon Cantons to a 25-run victory over City Kaitak in Hong Kong’s T20 Blitz final on Sunday.
In front of a lively crowd at Mission Road Ground, the West Indian cashed in after being badly dropped by England all-rounder Chris Jordan on the long-on boundary off the innings’ first ball.
Smith, who retired from international cricket earlier this month, scored 63 off 36 balls and combined in a record opening stand of 149 with man-of-the match Babar Hayat.
Babar, the Pakistan born Hong Kong cricketer, upstaged Smith in the early going smashing 76 off 40 balls to provide the platform for Kowloon’s total of 222 for three, the highest score of the tournament.
The partnership was finally broken in the 13th over, when Babar was bowled attempting a reverse sweep off left-arm spinner Nadeem Ahmed, who shortly after snared Smith.
Smith’s compatriot Marlon Samuels (32 off 21 balls) put the finishing touches but City Kaitak gamely responded with Scottish opener Kyle Coetzer smashing four consecutive sixes off Smith’s medium pacers to leave the match delicately poised.
Coetzer and Tillakaratne Dilshan hit 65 inside the opening five overs before the Sri Lankan was brilliantly caught by Mudassar Hussain to end his enterprising 23 off 11 balls.
Coetzer (63 off 36 balls) continued the carnage but eventually holed out in the 11th over as City Kaitak’s lost regular wickets to be bowled out for 197 in the final over.
City Kaitak had only booked their place in the final after defeating Hong Kong Island United by 50 runs earlier in the day.
Jordan had some solace by winning the player of the tournament after scoring 150 runs and nine wickets across five matches.
Kowloon claimed the trophy once again after sharing the spoils with the now defunct Woodworm Island Warriors in last year’s inaugural edition.
Babar, the Kowloon captain, said he was confident 222 was a match-wining total despite Coetzer’s heroics.
“I knew if we got one wicket, we would be in the game,” he said.
“There are no words to describe how it feels to win the championship”
Coetzer was disappointed with the loss but praised the second edition of the Blitz, which featured a host of prominent international players.
“The whole tournament was a huge success… fingers crossed it keeps growing in the next couple of years,” he said.