KARACHI, Sept 29: The fourth ranking snooker cup cues off at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Sports Complex on Sunday with top 24 players vying for the supremacy.
If one goes by the performance displayed by promising Asjad Iqbal who captured back-to-back titles of the domestic circuit after faltering in the country’s premier snooker championship, he seems to end the year on winning note. However, he has to live up to his true potential.
Asjad, 20, who has undergone month-long coaching course at Bangkok earlier this year, leaped 14 places when he thumped reigning national champion Mohammad Asif 7-4 in the final to win the NBP Cup.
Continuing from where he had left, he whipped Islamabad-based Shahram Changezi 7-2 to add Jubilee Insurance Cup in his bag.
Despite losing the last two titles, two-time national champion and title holder Asif has maintained his top slot in the national ranking with 27 points. Laying second on his heels is Asjad with 26 points.
They are followed by Sultan Mohammad, losing finalist of national championship, former Pakistan No 1 Khurram Agha, Shehram Changezi, Mohammad Sajjad, Sohail Shehzad and Sharjeel Mehmood. They all have the calibre to shine on a given day.
The players have been equally drawn into four groups and the top two from each will proceed to the quarter-finals.
The league match concludes on Wednesday and will be followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.
Groups: A: Mohammad Asif (Punjab), Sharjeel Mehmood (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Abdul Sattar (Sindh), Mohammad Imran (Punjab), Umair Alam (Sindh), Bilawal Agha (Sindh).
B: Asjad Iqbal (Punjab), Sohail Shehzad (Sindh), Mohammad Majid (Punjab), Vishan Gir (Sindh), Mohammad Afzal (Punjab), Mohammad Ishtiaq (Sindh).
C: Sultan Mohammad (Sindh), Mohammad Sajjad (Punjab), Shahid Aftab (Punjab), Imran Shehzad (Punjab), Abu Saim (Punjab), Mohammad Bilal (Punjab).
D: Khurram Agha (Sindh), Shahram Changezi (Islamabad), Mohammad Javed (Punjab), Naveen Perwani (Sindh), Mohammad Yousuf (Punjab), Mohammad Nazeer (Punjab).
Sunday’s fixtures: Mohammad Asif v Bilawal Agha, Asjad Iqbal v Mohammad Ishtiaq, Sultan Mohammad v Mohammad Bilal, Khurram Agha v Mohammad Nazeer at 10am; Sharjeel Mehmood v Umair Alam, Sohail Shehzad v Mohammad Afzal, Mohammad Sajjad v Abu Saim, Shehram Changezi v Mohammad Yousuf at 12noon; Abdul Sattar v Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Majid v Vishan Gir, Shahid Aftab v Imran Shehzad, Mohammad Javed v Naveen Perwani at 2pm; Mohammad Asif v Umair Alam, Asjad Iqbal v Mohammad Afzal, Sultan Mohammad v Abu Saim, Khurram Agha v Mohammad Yousuf at 4pm.