The Hong Kong Sixes – They’re Back!
The event that put Hong Kong on the cricket map has finally returned.
The Hong Kong Sixes – first staged way back in 1992- made its long awaited return to The Kowloon Cricket Club last weekend, after a hiatus of 5 years. The tournament comprised 8 teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, first time participants The Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) and hosts Hong Kong.
The tournament, which had put Hong Kong on the global cricket map, was put on ice since 2012, due to a lack of sponsors and support from the Government. The local governing body – Cricket Hong Kong- however decided to bring back the popular format this year, as they partnered with a string of long term investors like Accenture, Virgin Atlantic and InstaRem to name a few, much to the delight of cricket enthusiasts across the city.
While the event was a triumph for Cricket Hong Kong (CHK), it lacked the buzz and excitement that the Blitz, staged earlier this year, and previous editions, generated. A lack of big names and the absence of Indian and English teams would have contributed to a rather muted response. Though the MCC were representative of a team from England, it failed to spark the kind of nationalism that an actual ‘England’ team would have, and one on which organizers of international events bank on.
The spectators, who were in full attendance on Sunday –in stark contrast to Saturday’s turnout -, were treated to an exciting day of cricket. Some lusty hitting and impressive catching in the outfield, none more so than Hong Kong’s Nizakat Khan’s brilliant effort, diving forward and catching the ball just inches from the ground, marked the day’s proceedings.
The tournament culminated in a thrilling finale between crowd favourite and 5-time winner Pakistan and defending champions South Africa, which was won by the latter off the final ball of the match. With their victory, South Africa joined Pakistan and England as the most successful teams in the event’s history. Hong Kong won the Plate final – a competition between the bottom half contestants – against the MCC, bringing much cheer to their ardent supporters.
Kudos to Cricket Hong Kong (CHK) for reviving this ever popular format but what will ensure a sustained interest in the tournament will be its ability to attract star international players like they did in the past. Such giants of the game like Sachin Tendulkar, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younus, David Warner, to name a few, have graced the tournament in previous editions and bringing in current international and future stars in forthcoming editions is what will enhance the image of the event and go a long way in promoting the game here.
But for now, all we can do is stand back and applaud its memorable return and emphatically state that ‘The Hong Kong Sixes are back!’