The Hong Kong T20 Blitz returns with its third edition and is scheduled to run over a six-day period between February 6 and 11. The tournament comprises five participating teams with each team facing every other team just once during the league stage. The top two teams on the points table at the end of the league stage will battle it out for the trophy in the final. All matches will be played at the Tin Kwong Road Recreation Ground in Mong Kok.
Read on for team previews, squads, betting odds, tips and predictions for Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018....
They are the runners-up of the previous season. Kyle Coetzer scored the most runs for the team last year while Rayad Emrit did a good job with the ball with seven wickets in five matches. This year, City Kaitak will depend on the likes of Ravi Bopara, Samuel Badree and Aizaz Khan.
Overseas: Samuel Badree (WI), Rayad Emrit (WI), Sohail Tanvir (Pak), Ravi Bopara (Eng), Kyle Coetzer (Sco)
Domestic: Anshuman Rath, Aizaz Khan (c), Waqas Barkat, Jamie Atkinson, Manjinder Singh, Ishtiaq Muhammad, Umar Mohammad, Raag Kapur, Mudassar Hussain, Siegfried Wai, Kalhan Marc Challu
Last season, the Gladiators managed to win just one out of their four league-stage fixtures. Kumar Sangakkara batted well for them last time and he along with Cameron Delport are going to be the key men with the bat. Bowling will rely mainly on Jofra Archer and James Franklin.
Overseas: Kumar Sangakkara (SL), Seekkuge Prasanna (SL), James Franklin (NZ), Cameron Delport (RSA), Jofra Archer (Sussex), Chetan Suryawanshi (SGP)
Domestic: Karandeep Singh, Haroon Arshad, Imran Arif, Shahid Wasif, Amandeep Singh, Li Kai-ming, Moner Dar, Muhammad Balal, Mohammed Osama, Awais Mohammad
After starting off on a winning note in the 2016/17 season, they went on to lose their remaining three league matches and were thus ousted from the tournament. This year, Luke Ronchi, Kamran Akmal and David Wiese will lead the charge with the bat while Mohammad Irfan and Tanwir Afzaal will be the main threats with the ball.
Overseas: Kamran Akmal (Pak), Mohammad Irfan (Pak), David Wiese (RSA), Luke Ronchi (NZ), Hussain Talat (Pak), Ryan Ten Doeschate (NED)
Domestic: Tanwir Afzaal, Ehsan Khan, Yasim Murtaza, Zeeshan Ali, Daniyal Bukhari, Ahsan Abbsai, Suhaib Ahmad, Jason Lui, Chris Carter, Hamed Khan
They won two and lost as many matches last season and they would have been disappointed at not making it through to the finals. The Jaguars will look to go all the way this year and the likes of Darren Sammy, Nizakat Khan, Ben Laughlin and Riki Wessels will have to play well for that to happen.
Overseas: Darren Sammy (WI), Ben Laughlin (Aus), Riki Wessels (Eng), Johan Botha (RSA/Sydney Sixers), Roelof van der Merwe (Ned)
Domestic: Kinchit Shah (Capt), Nizakat Khan, Tanveer Ahmed, Adil Mehmood, Kyle Christie, Ninad Deveng Shah, Nadeem Ahmed, Scott Mckechnie, Damien Yee, Aarush Bhagwat, Rana Nasrulla
The Cantons are joint winners of the 2016 season and the sole winners of the 2017 season. They defeated City Kaitak in the final match last year to win back-to-back titles. Dwayne Smith finished as the tournament's leading run-scorer last time. Wahab Riaz and Samit Patel seem to be the big threats in their bowling attack.
Overseas: Dwayne Smith (WI), Wahab Riaz (Pak), Samit Patel (Eng), Ashar Zaidi (Eng), Paul van Meekeren (Ned)
Domestic: Babar Hayat, Ehsan Nawaz, Waqas Khan, Ryan Buckley, Adeel Shafrique, Hussain Butt, Hassan Khan, Simandeep Singh, Sunny Bhimsaria, Saad Mahmood, Bobby Chan
Kowloon Cantons are the most successful team in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz having won the title in the previous two seasons. This year as well, they have come up with a strong-looking squad that could dominate the other teams in the competition. Though the rest of the teams do have some quality international recruits, we feel that the more consistent Cantons look set for their third straight title win.
Final Verdict: Back Kowloon Cantons to win the Hong Kong T20 Blitz 2018.