National T20 Cup action begins today

30 Sep 2020

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MULTAN: Captains of National T20 Cup teams (from left) Shan Masood (Southern Punjab), Shadab Khan (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh) and Saad Nasim (Central Punjab) pose with the trophy on Tuesday.—INP
MULTAN: Captains of National T20 Cup teams (from left) Shan Masood (Southern Punjab), Shadab Khan (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Sohail (Balochistan), Sarfaraz Ahmed (Sindh) and Saad Nasim (Central Punjab) pose with the trophy on Tuesday.—INP

KARACHI: The 31-match First XI National T20 Cup will roll into action from Wednesday with Multan hosting the first leg of the double league competition as defending champions Northern take on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the opening fixture.

The second game on day one will be the Punjab derby when Central play Southern, while Sindh and Balochistan — who were heavily beaten in last year’s final in Faisalabad — begin their campaign on Thursday when they face each other.

With Zimbabwe set to arrive for three One-day Internationals and as many Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan at the end of October, there are opportunities for a number of fringe cricketers to stake their claims in front of Pakistan head coach-cum-chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq and the head coaches of the six teams who are part of the national selection committee.

Altogether a total of 14 fixtures will be played at the picturesque Multan Cricket Stadium before the event’s second leg starts from Oct 9 at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, where another lot of 14 matches are scheduled at the league phase.

The top four sides will progress through to the Oct 17 semi-finals, which also will be staged in Rawalpindi along with the final on Oct 18.

While PTV Sports would broadcast the entire tournament live, the six outfits will be battling for supremacy to lay their hands on the trophy and the hefty winners’ purse of Rs5 million. The runners-up will receive Rs2.5 million out of the total prize-money of Rs9 million.

The tournament is being organised in bio-score bubble with all fixtures to be played behind closed doors under strict protocols because of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic to ensure health and safety of players and officials involved.

Meanwhile, the Second XI tournament will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore from Oct 1 to 8 with 16 matches scheduled on a single league basis. The team topping the standings will be declared champions.

First XI schedule (Multan and Rawalpindi):

First leg, Multan:

Sept 30: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Northern (3:00pm PST); Southern Punjab vs Central Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 1: Balochistan vs Sindh (3:00pm); Southern Punjab vs Northern (7:30pm).

Oct 2: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Balochistan (3:00pm); Central Punjab vs Sindh (7:30pm).

Oct 3: Central Punjab vs Northern (3:00pm); Southern Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (7:30pm).

Oct 4: Southern Punjab vs Balochistan (3:00pm); Sindh vs Northern (7:30pm).

Oct 5: Sindh vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm); Balochistan vs Central Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 6: Central Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm); Balochistan vs Northern (7:30pm).

Second leg, Rawalpindi:

Oct 9: Northern vs Central Punjab (3:00pm); Sindh vs Southern Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 10: Balochistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm); Sindh vs Central Punjab (7:30pm);

Oct 11: Northern vs Southern Punjab (3:00pm); Sindh vs Balochistan (7:30pm).

Oct 12: Southern Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm); Central Punjab vs Balochistan (7:30pm).

Oct 13: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Sindh (3:00pm); Southern Punjab vs Central Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 14: Northern vs Sindh (3:00pm); Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Central Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 15: Northern vs Balochistan (3:00pm); Sindh vs Southern Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 16: Northern vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm); Balochistan vs Southern Punjab (7:30pm).

Oct 17: First semi-final (3:00pm); Second semi-final (7:30pm).

Oct 18: Final (7:30pm).

Second XI schedule (Lahore):

Oct 1: Balochistan vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (9:30am); Central Punjab vs Sindh (3:00pm)

Oct 2: Southern Punjab vs Northern (9:30am); Sindh vs Balochistan (3:00pm).

Oct 3: Southern Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (9:30am); Central Punjab vs Balochistan (3:00pm).

Oct 4: Sindh vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (9:30am); Central Punjab vs Southern Punjab (3:00pm).

Oct 5: Northern vs Sindh (9:30am); Central Punjab vs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (3:00pm).

Oct 6: Northern vs Balochistan (9:30am); Sindh vs Southern Punjab (3:00pm).

Oct 7: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa vs Northern (9:30am); Southern Punjab vs Balochistan (3:00pm).

Oct 8: Central Punjab vs Northern (9:30am).

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2020