Our coverage of the 2012 Hong Kong Cricket Sixes was sponsored by
Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel. Just 28 minutes from
downtown Hong Kong and conveniently located near the airport,
AsiaWorld-Expo and Hong Kong Disneyland, the 5-star luxury Hong
Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel is the ideal and affordable choice for
MICE, business and leisure travelers.
[HD videos below]
Defending champions Pakistan stayed on course for a record sixth
Cup title at the Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes 2012 on Saturday, as they
eased into the main competition alongside Sri Lanka, South Africa
and hosts Hong Kong.
But it was a different story for the other
five-time Cup winners England who were relegated to the Plate
competition after losing two of their preliminary round games - to
Australia and Hong Kong - on the opening day of action at the
Kowloon Cricket Club.
Pakistan, led by Kamran Akmal, suffered a hiccup
in the final match of the day losing by three wickets to Sri Lanka
but they had done enough to qualify for the main event having
coasted to wins over the Netherlands and archrivals India.
Returning with three players from their
successful 2011 campaign – Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam and Yasir Shah
– Pakistan were quickly into stride as they chased down modest
totals in their first two pool games.
Associate member country, the Netherlands,
posted a meager 73 for four which hardly posed a problem for
Pakistan with opening pair Umar Akmal (28 not out) and Awais Zia
(34 retired) laying the foundation for a comfortable victory.
The Akmal brothers were to the fore again
against India, who could only muster 73 runs in their knock, and
both were unbeaten as Pakistan reached their target with nine
balls to spare.
“It was an excellent day for us, the boys played
very well against India and the Netherlands. So far so good, but
tomorrow is another hard day against the best teams so far, Sri
Lanka, South Africa and Hong Kong, so there are no easy games for
us. We will play harder tomorrow after we relaxed a bit too much
in the last game,” said Akmal.
Sri Lankan captain Jehan Mubarak saw his side
squeak to a last-ball victory against Pakistan as the islanders
remained unbeaten on the opening day. Sri Lanka were given an
early wake-up call by the Dutch who came close to chasing down an
imposing total of 107, falling just short by three runs.
With opening bat and wicket-keeper Kusal Perera
in fine form, and with good support from Chamara Kapugede and
Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Sri Lanka upped the tempo against a
makeshift Indian outfit romping to a 37-run victory to ensure
their place in the last four in the Cup competition, which will be
played on a round-robin format with the top two advancing to the
Cup final on Sunday.
“We played well and the boys are happy. We
didn't play with any expectations and this is how we always want
to play and it worked for us today. It will be tough tomorrow, but
we are in a happy mood and relaxed and that is when we play our
best. We enjoy playing Sixes and we want to do well again
tomorrow,” Mubarak said.
Hosts Hong Kong lived up to their reputation as
giant-killers when they held their nerve to defeat England’s
hardened band of County professionals to book their berth at the
Hong Kong had begun the day promisingly when
they blasted the highest total of the day, 134 for one against a
hapless Australian outfit.
Teenage opener Babar Hayat was in outstanding
form scoring 34 before retiring (batsmen have to retire once they
reach 31 but can return if the other players are out) as the
Australian bowlers wilted under his assault.
“Australia were very impressed with Babar. Brad
Hodge told me he had never seen such clean hitting and that means
a lot coming from a professional like him,” Hong Kong coach
Charlie Burke said.
Australia crumbled to a 67-run defeat to give
the home side the perfect start as they go in hunt of a first-ever
Cup title. Hong Kong came close in 2009 when it lost in the final
to South Africa.
But the home team’s balloon was punctured by
South Africa who restricted Hong Kong to 84, despite another good
knock by Hayat, and easily knocked off the runs for the loss of
Needing to win their final group game against
England, Hong Kong lost Hayat early and the rest of the batting
could only scramble to a total of 78, which is well below par at
the small ground.
But Hong Kong’s bowlers came to the party with
left-arm spinner Munir Dar bowling a superb opening over, one for
seven, and seamer Tanwir Afzal also proving that the minnows could
match the professionals with a miserly one for five off his over.
“We knew we had to bowl well to have a chance of
qualifying for the Cup. Both Munir and Tanwir bowled exceptionally
well,” said Burke.
The loss placed England in a must-win situation
as they faced South Africa but the Colin Ingram-led team was too
strong as they won by 21 runs having posted a sizeable total of
113 for one.
“That was a crunch game for us as we knew the
winner would make it through to the Cup,” Ingram said. “We batted
well in two games today, but I think the key was our fielding. We
didn’t drop one catch which came our way and our ground fielding
saved a lot of runs.”
South Africa, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Hong Kong
will figure in a round-robin competition on Sunday with the top
two teams advancing into the Cup final.
The bottom four-placed sides, England, the
Netherlands, India and Australia will play in the Plate
Today’s opening round of the KARP Group Hong
Kong Sixes was again well supported by local cricket enthusiasts
with the venue approaching maximum capacity with attendance of
Among those in attendance was Mr Alan Isaac,
President of the International Cricket Council, on a stopover
after being in Beijing this past week.
“The Hong Kong Sixes is a great event,” said
Isaac. “It is great to see the game being played in places like
Hong Kong and we hope to see the game continue to grow in China.”
Less than 500 tickets remain for Sunday’s
finals. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office at Kowloon
The tournament has been broadcast live since
2008 and in 2011 reached over 115 million households on the Indian
subcontinent, across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Australia
and South Africa, as well as being packaged for distribution in
North America, the United Kingdom, Europe and China.
Interview with Jehan
Mubarak, Captain of Sri Lanka