National T20 Cup offers fringe players chance to impress

Updated October 13, 2019

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FAISALABAD: Captains and representatives of six competing teams unveil the National T20 Cup trophy at the Iqbal Stadium on Saturday.—APP
FAISALABAD: Captains and representatives of six competing teams unveil the National T20 Cup trophy at the Iqbal Stadium on Saturday.—APP

KARACHI: After Pakistan’s 3-0 thrashing in the recent home series against Sri Lanka, there will be ample opportunities forthcoming for a number of contenders in the National T20 Cup — in the main event that which begins in Faisalabad from Sunday — vying for places in the squad to tour Australia next month.

With the second XI sides competing at the National Stadium in Karachi, the main focus will be at Faisalabad’s Iqbal Stadium where the country’s top cricketers will be mighty anxious to impress the embattled Pakistan head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq for possible inclusion in the Australia-bound touring party as well as compete for the player draft for the 2020 HBL Pakistan Super League.

With talks of wholesale changes in the makeup of the Pakistan squad gathering momentum following the humiliation of the world’s top-ranked team, Misbah and the six regional head coaches will be keeping a close eye on the potential tourists for the three-match series in Australia.

Shoaib Malik will also compete in the National T20 Cup after being granted NOC by the Pakistan Cricket Board to participate in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League where the former national side captain has led Guyana Amazon Warriors to an unprecedented 10-match unbeaten streak run in the league phase of the tournament. His charges are due to take on the Jason Holder-led Barbados Tridents in the final at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba (Trinidad) in the wee hours — 2:00am PST — of Monday.

Malik, who topped Amazon’s batting averages with a tally of 313 runs at 78.25 in 11 matches, will be seen in action for Southern Punjab in the National T20 Cup. He is almost certain to miss Southern’s first two fixtures because of his CPL commitments.

Haris Sohail returns from national duty to lead Balochistan in the opening encounter of the event against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who are being led by Mohammad Rizwan, while Sunday’s evening game pits Pakistan vice-captain Babar Azam-led Central Punjab versus Sindh, who will be captained by currently under pressure Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Southern Punjab, who are skippered by Shan Masood, open their campaign against Imad Wasim-led Northern in Monday’s opening match at 1:30pm.

Meanwhile, the tournament will be televised live on Ten Sports and PTV Sports.

The secondary competition will run concurrently with the showpiece event — the first National T20 Cup to be staged in Faisalabad after eight seasons — with the same schedule of fixtures with finals of both tournaments to be played on Oct 24. The first match of Second XI tournament will begin at 9:30am, with second game to start at 1:30pm.

First XI squads:

BALOCHISTAN: Haris Sohail (captain), Imran Farhat (vice-captain), Akif Javed, Ali Shafiq, Amad Butt, Awais Zia, Bismillah Khan, Hussain Talat, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Butt, Mohammad Asghar, Mohammad Talha, Shahbaz Khan, Taimur Khan, Umar Gul, Yasir Shah.

CENTRAL PUNJAB: Babar Azam (captain), Ahmed Shehzad (vice-captain), Ahmad Bashir, Ali Shan, Bilal Asif, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali (subject to fitness), Kamran Akmal, Nasim Shah, Rizwan Hussain, Saad Nasim, Salman Butt, Umar Akmal, Usman Qadir, Waqas Maqsood, Zafar Gohar.

KHYBER PAKHTUNKHWA: Mohammad Rizwan (captain), Sahibzada Farhan, Adil Amin, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Israrullah, Junaid Khan, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Mohsin, Mohammad Ilyas, Musadiq Ahmed, Umar Khan, Usman Shinwari, Zohaib Khan, Imran Khan Jr, Irfanullah Shah.

NORTHERN: Imad Wasim (captain), Umar Amin (vice-captain), Ali Imran, Asif Ali, Haider Ali, Hammad Azam, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Nawaz, Musa Khan, Naveed Malik, Rohail Nazir, Shadab Khan, Sohail Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, Zaid Alam.

SINDH: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Asad Shafiq (vice-captain), Abid Ali, Ahsan Ali, Anwar Ali, Fawad Alam, Kashif Bhatti, Khurram Manzoor, Mir Hamza, Mirza Ahsan Jamil, Mohammad Hasnain, Omair Bin Yousuf, Saad Ali, Saud Shakeel, Sohail Khan, Waleed Ahmed.

SOUTHERN PUNJAB: Shan Masood (captain), Sami Aslam (vice-captain), Aamir Yamin, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Abbas (subject to fitness), Mohammad Hafeez,

Mohammad Irfan (slow left-armer), Rahat Ali, Saif Badar, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Umaid Asif, Umar Siddique, Wahab Riaz, Zahid Mahmood.

Schedule:

First XI, Iqbal Stadium (Faisalabad):

Oct 13: Balochistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1:30pm); Central Punjab vs Sindh (5:30pm).

Oct 14: Northern vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm); Sindh vs Balochistan (5:30pm).

Oct 15: Central Punjab vs Northern (1:30pm); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (5:30pm).

Oct 16: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Sindh (1:30pm); Balochistan vs Central Punjab (5:30pm).

Oct 17: Balochistan vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm); Sindh vs Northern (5:30pm).

Oct 18: Central Punjab vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm); Northern vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (5:30pm).

Oct 19: Rest Day.

Oct 20: Rest Day.

Oct 21: Sindh vs Southern Punjab (5:30pm).

Oct 22: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Central Punjab (1:30pm); Balochistan vs Northern (5:30pm).

Oct 23: First Semi-final — No.1 vs No.4 (1:30pm); Second semi-final — No.2 vs No.3 (5:30pm).

Oct 24: Final (5:30pm).

Second XI, National Stadium (Karachi):

Oct 13: Balochistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (9:30am): Sindh vs Central Punjab (1:30pm).

Oct 14: Northern vs Southern Punjab (9:30am); Sindh vs Balochistan (1:30pm).

Oct 15: Central Punjab vs Northern (9:30am); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1:30pm).

Oct 16: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Sindh (9:30am); Balochistan vs Central Punjab (1:30pm).

Oct 17: Balochistan vs Southern Punjab (9:30am); Sindh vs Northern (1:30pm).

Oct 18: Central Punjab vs Southern Punjab (9:30am); Northern vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (1:30pm).

Oct 19: Rest Day.

Oct 20: Rest Day.

Oct 21: Sindh vs Southern Punjab (1:30pm).

Oct 22: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Central Punjab (9:30am); Balochistan vs Northern (1:30pm).

Oct 23: First Semi-final — No.1 vs No.4 (9:30am); Second semi-final — No.2 vs No.3 (1:30pm).

Oct 24: Final (1:30pm).

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2019