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KARACHI: With the inclusion of three more regions, the expanded edition of Faysal Bank T20 Cup is set to explode at four different venues in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad from Thursday (Feb 6).

The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), Dera Murad Jamali and Larkana — the regions who have yet to compete at the first-class level — participated in a separate triangular T20 tournament held at Multan in December 2012. Fata clinched the title by handing Dera Murad Jamali a five-wicket defeat in the final.

This time, however, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to include all three teams in the mainstream T20 competition alongside the 14 regular regional outfits who all have first-class status.

Because of the tournament’s requirements, the three newcomers have been renamed as Fata Cheetahs, Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes and Larkana Bulls and will have the services of four ‘guest’ players each in their respective squads.

The 17 sides have been divided into four pools with one, in which Larkana Bulls are competing, having five teams.

Islamabad will host three of the five matches to be played daily at the group stages at Diamond Club Ground, Marghazar Cricket Ground and National Cricket Ground, starting at 11:00am. Rawalpindi’s Pindi Cricket Stadium will stage two matches daily with the first commencing at 12:00 noon and the second at 4:00pm.

One salient feature of the upcoming event is that for the first time in the national T20 cricket history, quarter-finals will be played with the top two teams from the four groups qualifying. All the knockout fixtures, including the semi-finals and the final, will be played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Lahore Lions, who will be defending their title, are placed in Group ‘D’, while Super Eight T20 champions Faisalabad Wolves, who took part in the Champions League qualifiers in the Indian city of Mohali last year, are in Group ‘C’.

With no change in prize-money, the winners of the Feb 16 final would be richer by Rs2.5 million with the runners-up set to get Rs1 million.

Meanwhile, the official unveiling of the tournament is slated to be held in Islamabad on either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Pools:

Group ‘A’: Karachi Dolphins, Sialkot Stallions, Hyderabad Hawks, Quetta Bears, Larkana Bulls.

Group ‘B’: Rawalpindi Rams, Karachi Zebras, Multan Tigers, Fata Cheetahs.

Group ‘C’: Faisalabad Wolves, Islamabad Leopards, Lahore Eagles, Peshawar Panthers.

Group ‘D’: Lahore Lions, Abbottabad Falcons, Bahawalpur Falcons, Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes.

Schedule:

Feb 6: Bahawalpur Stags v Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes (Diamond Club Ground, 11:00am); Multan Tigers v Fata Cheetahs (Marghazar Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Karachi Dolphins v Hyderabad Hawks (National Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Quetta Bears v Larkana Bulls (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Faisalabad Wolves v Peshawar Panthers (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 7: Karachi Zebras v Fata Cheetahs

(Diamond Club Ground, 11:00am); Sialkot Stallions v Larkana Bulls (Marghazar Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Hyderabad Hawks v Quetta Bears (National Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Abbottabad Falcons v Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Islamabad Leopards v Lahore Eagles (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 8: Islamabad Leopards v Peshawar Panthers (Diamond Club Ground, 11:00am); Hyderabad Hawks v Larkana Bulls (Marghazar Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Karachi Dolphins v Quetta Bears (National Cricket Ground, Islamabad, 11:00am); Lahore Lions v Bahawalpur Stags (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Rawalpindi Rams v Fata Cheetahs (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 9: Karachi Dolphins v Larkana Bulls (Diamond Club Ground, 11:00am); Lahore Lions v Dera Murad Jamali Ibexes (Marghazar Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Faisalabad Wolves v Islamabad Leopards (National Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Karachi Zebras v Multan Tigers (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm): Sialkot Stallions v Hyderabad Hawks (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 10: Hyderabad Hawks v Larkana Bulls (Diamond Club Ground, 11:00am); Sialkot Stallions v Quetta Bears (Marghazar Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Abbottabad Falcons v Bahawalpur Stags (National Cricket Ground, 11:00am); Lahore Eagles v Peshawar Panthers (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Rawalpindi Rams v Multan Tigers (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 11: Faisalabad Wolves v Lahore Eagles (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Karachi Dolphins v Sialkot Stallions (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 12: Lahore Lions v Abbottabad Falcons (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Rawalpindi Rams v Karachi Zebras (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 13: First quarter-final — Group ‘A’ Winners v Group ‘C’ Runners-up (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Second quarter-final — Group ‘B’ Winners v Group ‘D’ Runners-up (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 14: Third quarter-final — Group ‘C’ Winners v Group ‘A’ Runners-up (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Fourth quarter-final — Group ‘D’ Winners v Group ‘B’ Runners-up (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 15: First semi-final — Winners of first quarter-final v Winners of second quarter-final (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 12:00pm); Second semi-final — Winners of third quarter-final v Winners of fourth quarter-final (Pindi Cricket Stadium, 4:00pm).

Feb 16: Final (Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi, 4:00pm).