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Hong Kong Cricket Sixes 2011: Sanath, Afridi key stars at play

Sep 18, 2011 2:30:29 PM - www.ft.lk

Sanath Jayasuriya and Shahid Afridi, two of the most destructive batsmen in the history of cricket, are set to dazzle fans at the Karp Group Hong Kong Cricket Sixes at the Kowloon Cricket Club from 28-30 October 2011.
Joining them in the All Stars line-up are a coterie of premier cricketers from around the globe including one of the world’s fastest bowlers, Australia’s Shaun Tait, South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs, Pakistan’s Abdul Razzaq and the International Cricket Council’s Affiliate Player of the year, Ryan ten Doeschate of The Netherlands.

Sri Lanka’s Jayasuriya and Pakistan’s Afridi have gone head-to-head with their batting exploits and are recognised as two of the most feared batsmen in the world. The duo are ideally suited to Hong Kong’s unique format with hitting sixes almost second nature for the pair.
Master blaster Jayasuriya held the record for the most sixes in one-day internationals – 270 – until Shahid Afridi, nicknamed “Boom Boom” for his aggressive batting style, overhauled it to stand top of the list with 289. The picturesque Kowloon Cricket Club will be tailor-made for the duo who will carry the hopes of the All Stars in the expanded 12-team tournament.
“We are thrilled to have both Sanath Jayasuriya and Shahid Afridi playing on the same team. They are outstanding cricketers who can demolish any bowling attack and are more than capable bowlers themselves. Fans are in for a treat,” said Captain Shahazada Saleem, president of the Hong Kong Cricket Association.
Jayasuriya, who holds the record for the fastest 50 in One Day Internationals (ODIs) – off just 17 balls – is a more than capable bowler with his left arm spin having claimed 323 wickets. He is the only player to score more than 13,000 runs and take more than 300 wickets in ODIs.
Afridi was the standout bowler at this year’s World Cup. The leg-spinner was the joint highest wicket-taker with 21 scalps. He also holds the record for scoring the fastest 100, off just 37 balls, another record he claimed from Jayasuriya who had the previous fastest ton (off 48 balls).
The destructive pair will figure in a powerful All Stars team which also includes South African opener Herschelle Gibbs, Pakistan all- rounder Abdul Razzaq, Australian spearhead Shaun Tait and Ryan ten Doeschate of the Netherlands.
Opposing batsmen will have to watch out for Shaun Tait and his thunderbolts. The Aussie is widely regarded as one of the world’s fastest bowlers. Tait once bowled a delivery recorded at 160.7 kilometres per hour – the fastest ball ever bowled on Australian soil.
South African Gibbs, is an elegant batsman who on his day can tear apart any attack. He became the first player to hit six sixes in one over, doing so against the Netherlands at the 2007 World Cup. Opponents at KCC will also have to watch out for his brilliant fielding.
All-rounder Razzaq will be another key cog in the All Stars team. Handy with both bat and ball, the Pakistani played a huge part in his country’s victory over Australia at this year’s World Cup as he guided them to a tense victory with an unbeaten 20 off 24 balls. His coolness under pressure will be welcomed by the All Stars.
In keeping with the Hong Kong Cricket Association’s goal to promote Cricket’s Associate nations, the Netherlands’ Ryan ten Doeschate rounds out this year’s All Star selection.
Every English fan will remember ten Doeschate for the century he scored against England at this year’s World Cup. His knock of 119 is the record for the highest individual score by a player from an associate nation. The Netherlands all-rounder was recently named the ICC Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year for the third time in four years and for the second year running.
Ten Doeschate, 31, played six ODIs during the World Cup this year and scored two centuries and a half-century, averaging 61.40 for the period with a strike rate of 89.24. He is also the first Associate player to win an IPL contract. He was bought at the 2011 auction by Kolkata Knight Riders.
“We have got a good blend of players from all around the world and I expect the All Stars to be one of the favourites to win the tournament,” said Saleem.
The All Stars have been drawn with Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Scotland in pool A. Defending champions Australia are in pool B with England, Bangladesh and Ireland while pool C comprises last year’s losing finalists Pakistan, South Africa, India and Hong Kong.
The All Stars will also feature in a unique exhibition game on Friday afternoon (October 28) as they take on a team made up of players selected from the remaining tournament field in Hong Kong’s first ever international T20 match. The T20 match kicks off immediately after the conclusion of Cricket Sixes pool play on Friday at 3.00pm.
In a bid to share the excitement of Cricket Sixes with more members of the local community, a concession ticket is being sold for Friday, 28 October. Friday tickets, which include the opening pool rounds and T20 action, are priced at HK$100 for adults and HK$50 for children 12 and under.
Adult tickets are priced at HK$800 for a weekend (Saturday and Sunday) package, while children’s tickets are HK$380.

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