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Pakistan knockout England to win Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes

Monday 31st October 2011

Abdul Razzaq and Sohail Tanvir hammered half-centuries as Pakistan swept to a 35-run victory over England to be crowned champions at the Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes, at the Kowloon Cricket Club on Sunday.

Pakistan captain Razzaq hit a scintillating 63 not out and was matched stroke for stroke by the left-handed Tanvir, 58, as Pakistan set an imposing target of 155. It was beyond England who were bowled out with two balls left in the final eight-ball over, despite the best efforts of Kent's Darren Stevens.

Pakistan's winsparked riotous scenes amongst the Kowloon Cricket Club faithful, with most of the capacity 4,500-strong crowd, having cheered themselves hoarse backing Pakistan.

“It was a fantastic tournament. I was very, very happy to see the crowd turnout over the three days and I’m sure everyone was entertained by the final,” said Hong Kong Cricket Association president Shahzada Saleem.

The victory saw Pakistan draw level with England as the team with the most number of wins – each having five titles. But Pakistan warned they will be back for more.

“We are delighted to have matched England with five wins a piece. But we want to make it six next year,” said happy skipper Razzaq who was named Man-of-the-Match.

The Ben Hollioake award for the Player-of-the-Tournament went to teammate Umar Akmal whose fantastic batting – he aggregated 197 – set the tournament alight. But in the final, it was all Razzaq and Tanvir as they plundered the English bowling at will.

“It was a superb batting display,” conceded England captain Rory Hamilton-Brown. “We were up against some world-class players and getting to the final itself was creditable for us.”

England’s run-chase never got off the ground with wickets falling in bundles. Akmal was the chief wrecker, taking three wickets in his over, including a superb one-handed diving catch to dismiss dangerman Darren Stevens.

“I’m really pleased to win. But we didn’t want to celebrate until the last ball was bowled,” said Razzaq.

Pakistan had looked determined all week and easily outshone the marque side – the Woodworm All Stars – who had included countryman Shahid Afridi and Sri Lankan legend Sanath Jayasuriya.

The All Stars bowed out in the quarter finals, failing to defend a sizeable total of 118 against Sri Lanka who made it home in the very last delivery.

Skipper Jayasuriya was in good nick with the bat, blasting 34 runs, including five huge sixes, in the very first over to get the Woodworm All Stars off o a great start and the impetus was continued by Ryan ten Doeshcate (32 not out) and Lou Vincent (30) as the All Stars set a daunting target.

Sri Lanka’s best bowler was Thisara Perera who conceded only 10 runs and grabbed the vital wicket of Shahid Afridi caught and bowled. Perera was unable to follow that up with the bat being run out without scoring, but fine knocks by Kushal Perera (34), Dilshan Munaweera (34) and Sachith Pathirana (33) helped the island nation squeeze out victory in the very last ball.

Pathirana was the hero for Sri Lanka. Needing four runs off the last delivery, he smacked Indian leg-spinner Piyush Chawla for a massive six.

Crowd favourites, India never had enough runs on the board and went down to England in another nail-biting quarter final. Indian openers Dinesh Karthik (32) and Mayank Agarwal (35) set a sound foundation but the rest of the batting failed to keep the momentum as India totaled 99. Chasing 100 for victory, England successfully completed the task with skipper Rory Hamilton-Brown leading the way with an accomplished 34.

In the bottom half of the draw, hosts Hong Kong claimed the scalp of Scotland comfortably chasing down a target of 101 with five balls to spare. Hong Kong lost top batsmen Babar Hayat, run-out without facing a ball, and Munir Dar both the victims of superb fielding by Scot wicketkeeper Calum Macleod. But good knocks from Nizakat Khan, Tanvir Afzaal and Haseeb Amjad guided Hong Kong home.

Pakistan knocked out the other associate member making its debut, Ireland who could only manage to post 86 thanks to 33 from Paul Stirling. Despite losing wickets constantly, including the big-hitting Umar Akmal for 24, Pakistan were always in control of the run-chase thanks to opener Sharjeel Khan who carried his bat for a well-compiled 40.

The semi-finals saw Hong Kong take on Pakistan while Sri Lanka met England. Both ended in comfortable victories – Pakistan defeating Hong Kong by 32 runs after compiling 116, while England successfully defended a total of 101, winning by seven runs.

But in the final, it was all Pakistan, with the batsmen delivering the knockout punch.

About the Karp Group Hong Kong Cricket Sixes 2011

Organised by the Hong Kong Cricket Association since 1992, the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes is the only international cricket event held in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Sixes is fully sanctioned by the world’s governing body for cricket, the International Cricket Council, and title sponsored by Karp Group.

With the support of the Hong Kong Tourism Commission’s Mega Events Fund* for the first time in 2011, this year’s Karp Group Cricket Sixes 2011 was the best clash in the 19-year history of the Tournament. The Hong Kong Sixes has been recognised an official “M" Mark event by the Major Sports Events Committee since 2007.

The tournament has been broadcast live since 2008 and in 2010 reached over 80 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. This year’s television package has grown 45% year on year to over 120 million homes.

*The Mega Events Fund was set up in 2009 to support mega arts, cultural and sports events to be staged in Hong Kong.

Photo courtesy of Karp Group Hong Kong Sixes