Marlon Samuels scored 51    Hong Kong Cricket (Twitter)
Marlon Samuels scored 51 Hong Kong Cricket (Twitter)

Misbah-ul-Haq s Hong Kong Island United suffer their second straight defeat, going down to Kowloon Cantons by 44 runs in match 7 of the Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2017 at Mong Kok. With this win, Cantons go atop courtesy of a superior net run rate. Ian Bell, returning from injury, tried his best to get United over the line, but some tight bowling from the Cantons ensured that they managed to restrict a strong United batting line-up. Cantons had set United a target of 169, thanks to a brilliant 51 from Marlon Samuels. Samuels then chipped in with the ball as well, finishing with figures of 2 for 12. Dwayne Smith and Tanvver Ahmed too bowled a few quiet overs, sharing three wickets between them at an excellent economy rate. This is the first of the three matches scheduled to be played on Saturday.

Misbah was dismissed for the first time in this tournament. He scored a couple of 80s in the previous two games. Unfortunately, he could not see his team home. With the required run rate creeping up to over 20 in the last three overs, United just could not clear the ground as many times as they would have liked to. Bell was eventually dismissed in the penultimate over for 59 off 50 and the Cantons wrapped up the match with one full over to spare.

Talking about his injury, Bell said that he is struggling but wanted to get out there and just play. It was annoying to get that knock and it was good that there is no fracture. I just wanted to get out there and play, which is why I have come here, Bell said after the match.

Reflecting on his Man of the Match performance, Samuels said, We did not get the start that we want, but nevertheless, I have played a lot of T20. Once I get a partnership going I knew I could take us to a respectable total. Two different pitch [from the one on the first couple of days]. This pitch we played on today, 160-170 is a challenging total. This pitch is two paced and pretty slow.

Samuels did not make the cut in the West Indies squad for England s tour. However, Samuels is not particularly disappointed and insists that his family will come first. Tell you what, I ve played 17 years of international cricket. We ll see where that one goes. But for the moment, I m just focused on making family decision. Whatever my family says, I ll do, said the West Indies all-rounder.

Samuels also hopes that the Blitz becomes bigger and bigger every year. He said, Been a wonderful tournament so far. Hopefully this can go from strength to strength. ICC has been wonderful, helping out as well. So, Hopefully as I said, this tournament can go all the way and get bigger and bigger every year.

Earlier, United won the toss and elected to bowl first. After winning their first match, United now have lost two in a row, which makes their final match against City Kaitak on Sunday all the more crucial.

Brief Scores:

Kowloon Cantons 168 for 7 in 20 overs (Marlon Samuels, 51, Ashar Zaidi 46; Saeed Ajmal 4 for 29, Tanwir Afzal 2 for 16) beat Hong Kong Island United 124 in 19 overs (George Munsey 21, Ian Bell 59; Yasir Arafat 2 for 20, Marlon Samuels 2 for 12) by 44 runs.

Man of the match: Marlon Samuels