DLSWCC U23s made their debut in December as they took part in Cricket Hong Kong's 1st ever U23 Tournament. The first ever Domestic U23’s T20 tournament in Hong Kog was held at Mission Road from the 18th of December through to the 21st of December 2017. The format was a round robin T20 competition featuring teams from Diasqua Little Sai Wan Cricket Club, the Pakistan Association Cricket Club, the Kowloon Cricket Club and a Cricket Hong Kong team made up of players from HKCC, USRC, the Vagabonds and the CHK Dragons.
Head Coach of the Diasqua Little Sai Wan Cricket Club, Saqlain Ghulam said "it is very encouraging to see CHK organise a T20 competition for the U23's. This will help bridge the gap for some of the Junior Cricketers to jump from Junior Cricket to Sunday Cricket". We are looking forward to a competitive first season." The Diasqua Team was Captained by Shahid Wasif, while Harpreet Singh was the Vice Captain. Asif Hussain was the Assistant Coach and Team Manager
Match 1 – DLSWCC U23’s vs PACC U23’s
The CHK T20 Open for the U23 age group kicked off on 18th December at the Tin Kwong Road Recreational Ground. The Pakistan Association Cricket Club took on the Diasqua Little Sai Wan Cricket Club in the morning game. It was PACC who won the toss and sent in DLSWCC on a grassy wicket that promised some early movement as well as some good carry. Amandeep Singh (26 run from 15 balls) played well early but lost regular partners to have DLSWCC sitting at a precarious 42 for 3. That brought Haroon Arshad (60 not out from 45 balls) to the crease who combined with Haseeb Muhammad (23 from 18 balls) to push the total up to 149 for 5 from their 20 overs. Kamran Mohammad collected 2 wickets but was expensive while Aryan Muhammad and Navdeep Singh chipped in with a wicket each.
In reply the PACC innings never got going as they lost regular wickets to be dismissed for 67 in the 18th over. Only Navdeep Singh was able to pass 15 as the DLSWCC spinners went to work, Aftab Hussain took 3 wickets for 10 runs from 3 overs while Ghazanfar Mohammad and Harpreet Singh both took 2 wickets in what was a dominate display by the boys from Little Sai Wan. Man of the match went to Haroon Arshad for his match winning knock of 60 not out as well as the one wicket.
Match 2 – CHK U23’s vs DLSW U23’s
The two unbeaten teams from the day before faced off in the afternoon game in a bid to secure their spot in the Grand Final after both completing convincing victories on day one. It was the DLSW side that won the toss and chose to bat first, the first time in the tournament a team had chosen to do so.
Early wickets fell which put the DLSW U23’s on the back foot from the outset with opener Ehsan Ayaz (25 from 21 balls) batting well early as they reached 48 for 3 after 7.5 overs. It was the man of the match from their first game Haroon Arshad (31 from 24 balls) who helped steady the ship by putting on a partnership of 48 with Haseeb Muhammad (28 from 28 balls) before a late flurry of wickets meant they could only post 119 and were dismissed in the 20th over. For CHK it was Hassan Khan Mohammad who starred with the ball taking 4 for 14 from his full quota of overs.
In reply the CHK team always looked in control of the chase as opener Raag Kapur (57 from 42 balls) took the attack to the DLSW bowlers, minor contributions from most of the top order meant the score kept ticking along. However when Kapur was dismissed with the score on 93 in the 13th over the chase lost all its momentum as the DLSW spinners went to work, Harpreet Singh (2 for 26 from his 4), Aftab Hussain (2 for 23) and Ghazanfar Mohammad (1 for 16) all bowled well towards the end of the innings while the CHK did their best to snatch a loss from the jaws of defeat. It was Daljeet Singh who struck one lusty blow straight over the bowlers head to leave just two runs required, he was dismissed the next ball but Saad Mahmood struck the final boundary to see him team home in the final over. A fantastic match that could have gone either way. For his 57 runs and 1 wicket, Raag Kapur was awarded the man of the match just a day after splitting the webbing in his left hand.
Match 3 – KCC U23’s vs DLSW U23’s
At the half way point of the tournament both KCC and DLSW had been victorious on one occasion, which set up the morning match on day three on 20th December 2017 as a virtual semifinal, the winner to progress to the final on Thursday afternoon. It was the KCC side who won the toss and sent in DLSW as has been the norm this week, Kinchit Shah (2 for 18 from 4 overs) started brilliantly for the KCC U23’s bowling his flat right arm off spinners from around the wicket, reducing DLSW U23’s to 21 for 3 inside the first 4 overs. That brought leading run scorer for the tournament, Haroon Arshad to the crease, who continued his golden run with the bat by putting on a partnership of 58 with skipper Shahid Wasif (36 from 42 balls). With the score on 79 off 15.2 over, Shahid was dismissed then Haroon (38 from 39 balls) picked up the slack to help the DLSW U23’s to a score of 120 from their 20 overs. Simandeep Singh (2 for 20 from 4 overs) bowled well at the death while Ninad Shah and Shahzeb Hasan both chimed in with 1 wicket a piece.
With the KCC U23’s requiring a tick over 6 an over for victory, DLSW needed to take regular wickets to remain in the race to take out the title. Opener Christopher Carter went early while his partner, Deep Brar (18 from 24 balls) threatened to take the game away from the opposition before he edged behind to skipper Wasif. The middle order came and went to reduce KCC to 78 for 4 from 12.3 overs, the game seemingly still well in control. Brilliant bowling from Ghazanfar Mohammad (3 for 15 from his 4 overs) and Harpreet Singh (3 overs for just 11 runs) put the brakes on the KCC innings. It was up to captain Kinchit Shah to try and wrestle back the momentum for his side with 17 runs required from the final 2 overs. Wasif threw the ball to Haroon Arshad, it was an interesting move after the spinners had looked difficult to get away earlier in the innings. Some costly misfields and great shots from Kinchit meant it went for 10 runs, leaving 7 required from the final over. Karandeep Singh had the ball in his hand and started the over well with a couple of singles and more importantly Kinchit was at the non-striker’s end. With 4 runs required from the final 2 balls it was left to young gun Aarush Bhagwat to finish the game, and he did so by pumping the penultimate ball for 4 through the covers to see his side home and into the grand final. Kinchit finished with 28 not out and Aarush with 9 from 11 balls including the winning runs. It was a close fought battle for the man of the match but eventually it went to Kinchit for his match winning innings and a couple of wickets to boot.
DLSW U23’s had to battle it out the next day against the PACC Rising Stars in the fight for 3rd place while KCC progress to the final against CHK.
3rd vs 4th Playoff – DLSW U23’s vs PACC Rising Stars
The playoff for third place was contested by the DLSW U23’s and the PACC Rising Stars in the morning match at Tin Kwong Road Recreational Ground. After a tough tournament the Rising Stars had the opportunity to make amends by saluting against a DLSW side that would count themselves a little unlucky not to be playing in the final after a narrow loss yesterday to KCC. It was DLSW who won the toss and elected to bat first, with an average score of around 125 all week they set out to make the task very difficult for the Rising Stars but it didn’t start well. A fantastic opening bowling partnership from Arbaz Khan (3 for 22 from 4 overs) and Kamran Mohammad (2 for 15 from 4 overs) put DLSW on the back foot from the outset, and at one stage they were 18 for 5 from 5.4 overs. The tournaments leading run scorer, Haroon Arshad, set about building partnerships with Jahangir Khan (9 from 15 balls) and Aftab Hussain (21 from 21 balls) in a bid to give his bowlers something to defend. Haroon was eventually stumped trying to go big for a well-played 52 from 43 deliveries, some late order hitting from Osama and Ghazanfar pushed the DLSW total up to 128 for 8 from their full allotment of overs.
The Rising Stars went about chasing down the total but as has been the norm for them this week, lost regular wickets. One for ten became two for twenty, then three for thirty and so on. Only Khan Ahmed (10 from 20 balls) managed to reach double figures early on. After starring with the ball, Arbaz Khan came into bat at number 6 and took the attack to the bowlers. Arbaz struck three massive sixes in his knock of 28 off 17 balls but lacked support from the other end. The PACC Rising Stars eventually finished on a total of 80 for 9 from their 20 overs. Of the bowlers it was Danish Zaffar (2 for 21 from 4 overs) and Aftab Hussain (2 for 9 from 4 overs) who did most of the damage. The man of the match was awarded to young Arbaz Khan from the Rising Stars for his all-round performance.
For DLSWCC this tournament showcased the amazing young talent they have, the tournaments leading run scorer Haroon Arshad (183 runs at an average of 45 and a SR of 121), Ghazanfar Mohammad and Aftab Hussain who both picked up 7 wickets at around 10 with an economy rate of just over 4 were the two standouts for the DLSW U23 side.