Big cats roar -

Sports | Feb 12, 2018
Hung Hom JD Jaguars were crowned champions of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz after beating Galaxy Gladiators Lantau by six runs in the final at Mission Road.

The result was the reverse of Gladiators' six-run win in the pool match between the two sides earlier this week but the tension was just as high as Lantau, led by Sri Lankan great Kumar Sangakkara, fell just short of their target.

Hong Kong all-rounder Nizakat Khan, who was named man of the match, made 93 off 52 balls as Jaguars scored 200 for seven in their 20 overs. He was supported by Johan Botha's 36 and Darren Sammy's 21.

In reply, Gladiators managed 194 for four, despite man-of-the-tournament Sangakkara's 76. Jaguars captain Kinchit Shah came on to bowl knowing they needed to get Sangakkara out and within a few balls the Sri Lankan was walking back to the pavilion. It was the breakthrough Jaguars needed.

"There were two left-handed batters and I noticed Sangakkara was staying back to my deliveries so I pitched it up and he over-hit it, so I was able to get that wicket," said Shah.

"We knew we had to get Sangakkara out for us to win. It is an amazing feeling to win. This is the best tournament in Hong Kong."

Sangakkara, who scored half-centuries in his last three matches, was happy with his performance.

"Overall it was a great tournament and final," said Sangakkara, a former Twenty20 World Cup winner. "We did well to restrict them to 200 after their good start. But there was not enough impetus from us towards the end [of Gladiators' innings] and we didn't get enough runs."

Khan, the man of the tournament at the Hong Kong Sixes last October, said he wanted to prove himself in the final after struggling in his teams' earlier matches. "I've had a pretty quiet tournament and 48 runs was my best effort so I really wanted to do well in the final," he said. "It was such a great experience playing with and against legends such as Sangakkara, Darren Sammy and others. I have learned a lot."

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January 2019