Kumar Sangakkara © Ike Li Ike Images
Kumar Sangakkara © Ike Li Ike Images

Sohail Tanvir commits the cardinal sin of pitching it up to Kumar Sangakkara. Down comes Sanga’s blade and long-off even doesn’t bother to watch. Mission Road Ground has short straight boundaries, but that could have cleared MCG too.

Sangakkara continued his brilliance in Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018 and guided Galaxy Gladiators Lantau to the final of the tournament, as the team pulled off a convincing five-wicket win over last year’s runners-up City Kaitak.

Sanga went a step further and followed his 42-ball 92 on Friday with a 56-ball 94 not out. He scored almost 68 per cent of his side’s runs with the next highest being Cameron Delport’s 15, in the chase of 137.

***

Tanvir is an active T20 cricketer. His last T20I came as recent as April 2017. Rayad Emrit made a comeback to West Indies side and played a T20I against New Zealand a few weeks back. Samuel Badree is the fifth-ranked bowler in T20Is. Aizaz Khan is a Hong Kong star and the heavily experienced Ravi Bopara is still pushing for a berth in England. Kaitak do have an impressive bowling attack that spoiled defending champions’ Kowloon Cantons’ chances of advancing in the tournament on Friday.

Sanga, despite his international retirement close to three years back, was easily the best cricketer in the park.

If you take out Sanga’s knock, Gladiators scored 45 runs off nine overs, losing five wickets. Sanga, in contrast, seemed to be batting on a different wicket. Sanga manoeuvred with ease and painted some breathtaking strokes.

Here are some of Sanga’s shots:

 

He finished the innings with a six, taking the total count to seven sixes in this innings but the magnanimous Sri Lankan gave away his Man of the Match award to teammate Dan Pascoe, an Australia-born Hong Kong cricketer who finished with 4-0-25-2.

“Well, I think he deserved it. Limiting a side under 140 with these [small] dimensions [at Mission Road] against international players is a great effort. He bowled outstandingly in the Powerplay,” reasoned Sanga on why he gifted his award to Pascoe.

Having played four back-to-back matches, Gladiators lost their first game but came back well, notching up three back-to-back victories to make it to the final.

Brief scores:

City Kaitak 136 all out in 18.1 overs [Ravi Bopara 37 (30), Dan Pascoe 4-0-25-2, Imran Arif 3-0-20-3, James Franklin 3-0-24-3] lost to Galaxy Gladiators Lantau 139 for 5 in 18.2 overs [Kumar Sangakkara 94 (56); Samuel Badree 4-1-12-3] by five wickets.

Man of the Match: Kumar Sangakkara