Auckland v Sialkot, CLT20, Johannesburg October 8, 2012

Sialkot carry Pakistan hopes on debut

20

Match facts

October 9, 2012
Start time 1730 (1530 GMT)

How they qualified

Auckland Aces: Winners of the HRV Cup, New Zealand's domestic competition
Sialkot Stallions: Winners of the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup, one of Pakistan's T20 domestic competitions

Big Picture

At long last, a Pakistan team will make its debut in the Champions League T20, when Sialkot Stallions face off against Auckland Aces. Sialkot were scheduled to play in the inaugural CLT20 in 2008, but the Mumbai bomb blasts caused that event to be postponed and the resulting freeze in India-Pakistan relations kept them out of the tournament since. At that time, they were midway through compiling one of the most awesome records in cricket - a streak of 25 successive wins in T20s, the most fickle and egalitarian format of the game.

Their recent form is just as impressive, and were barely troubled during their run to the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cup title. Their dominance was reflected in the margin of victories: five wickets, nine wickets, seven wickets, 40 runs and, in the final, eight wickets. They lack the star power of some of the other teams, but they have several experienced T20 campaigners including captain Shoaib Malik, opener Imran Nazir and fast bowler Naved-ul-Hasan. One of the revelations of the World T20, left-arm spinner Rana Hasan, is also part of the squad.

Auckland Aces also have little experience at the CLT20, though they are making their second appearance in the tournament. Last season, they lost both their qualifying matches, but were agonisingly close to winning both: they went down by two runs to Kolkata Knight Riders, and were trumped off the last ball by Somerset. Their captain, Gareth Hopkins, insists last year's experience will help the team this time round, and that Auckland have realised the importance of preparation as they come into the tournament after a long winter break. Their campaign could last only two days but they are making sure they are thoroughly ready for it, having arrived in South Africa as early as two weeks ago.

Players to watch

While Naved-ul-Hasan hasn't managed to nail down a spot in Pakistan's T20 side, he is a fixture in the short-form leagues around the world. This year itself, he has represented Uthura Oryxes (in the SLPL), Derbyshire (in the Friends Life t20), Sialkot Stallions, Dhaka Gladiators (in the BPL) and Hobart Hurricanes (in the Big Bash League). In Hobart, he has become something of a local cult hero with his ability to regularly take wickets, and his flamboyant mullet. A master of bowling at the death, with great control over the slower ball and the yorker, his form will have a huge role in determining how far Sialkot progress in the tournament.

Another experienced Pakistan player, Azhar Mahmood will be critical to Auckland's performance. With Auckland unfamiliar with the games of many of Sialkot's players, Mahmood will be able to provide them some insight on the opposition. He can turn matches with either bat or ball, as he has repeatedly shown in T20 leagues in several countries.

Quotes

"We're not looking to qualify but to win this tournament. That spirit is special."
Azhar Mahmood is aiming high

"We have the ingredients to become champions as we're a balanced team. Our biggest positive is our captain who has proved himself a great leader in crunch situations."
Sialkot coach Naved Anjum thinks his team can go far in the tournment

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 9, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    Best of luck Sialkot. i m praying for you.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on October 9, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    @Hasan Abas,realy nice one!.......ACTUALLY I M MORE INTERESTD IN NATIONs Vs NATIONS RATHER THAN PLAYER A VS PLAYER B SO 4 D SAME REASON I REALY DN'T LIKE IPL,BBL,BPL,SLPL OR ANY OTHR LEAGUE,HOWEVR CHAMPINS LEAGUE Z MORE INTRESTNG 4 ME CNSIDRNG CLUBS REPRSNTNG THEIR NATIONS(EXCEPT RCB,MI,KKR,CSK) SO BEST OF LUCK S.S ESPECIALY HARIS SOHAIL AS HE Z D FUTUR 4 PAK BATNG N I HOPE HE WOULD PROVE HIMSLF WORTHY 4 PAK MIDL ORDR.

  • on October 9, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    WAY TO GO STALLIONS!! SHOW EM WHAT WE GOT..!

    INSHALLAH WE WILL DOMINATE CLT20 LIKE ICL AND IPL-1

  • HarshVas on October 9, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Naved-ul-Hasan or Rana Naved???????? Cum on Aces!! show them your fighting spirit.....

  • on October 9, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    They lack the star power of some of the other teams, but they have several experienced T20 campaigners including captain Shoaib Malik, opener Imran Nazir and fast bowler Naved-ul-Hasan. One of the revelations of the World T20, left-arm spinner Rana Hasan, is also part of the squad.

  • on October 9, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    good luck team pakistan(SIALKOT STALLIONS.)

  • BlackThinking on October 9, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    It's first time for Pakistan to participate the CLT20..............Congrats Sialkot & wising all the best

  • on October 9, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Yah!!! go siaklot stallion's i'm rootin for you!!!

  • Meety on October 8, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Finally Naved ul Hasan gets to play for his home team!

  • on October 8, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    I hope Sialkot Stallions do qualify for the main event and gets beaten to pulp by the indian franchises there..

  • on October 9, 2012, 10:58 GMT

    Best of luck Sialkot. i m praying for you.

  • WickyRoy.paklover on October 9, 2012, 9:30 GMT

    @Hasan Abas,realy nice one!.......ACTUALLY I M MORE INTERESTD IN NATIONs Vs NATIONS RATHER THAN PLAYER A VS PLAYER B SO 4 D SAME REASON I REALY DN'T LIKE IPL,BBL,BPL,SLPL OR ANY OTHR LEAGUE,HOWEVR CHAMPINS LEAGUE Z MORE INTRESTNG 4 ME CNSIDRNG CLUBS REPRSNTNG THEIR NATIONS(EXCEPT RCB,MI,KKR,CSK) SO BEST OF LUCK S.S ESPECIALY HARIS SOHAIL AS HE Z D FUTUR 4 PAK BATNG N I HOPE HE WOULD PROVE HIMSLF WORTHY 4 PAK MIDL ORDR.

  • on October 9, 2012, 9:18 GMT

    WAY TO GO STALLIONS!! SHOW EM WHAT WE GOT..!

    INSHALLAH WE WILL DOMINATE CLT20 LIKE ICL AND IPL-1

  • HarshVas on October 9, 2012, 7:59 GMT

    Naved-ul-Hasan or Rana Naved???????? Cum on Aces!! show them your fighting spirit.....

  • on October 9, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    They lack the star power of some of the other teams, but they have several experienced T20 campaigners including captain Shoaib Malik, opener Imran Nazir and fast bowler Naved-ul-Hasan. One of the revelations of the World T20, left-arm spinner Rana Hasan, is also part of the squad.

  • on October 9, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    good luck team pakistan(SIALKOT STALLIONS.)

  • BlackThinking on October 9, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    It's first time for Pakistan to participate the CLT20..............Congrats Sialkot & wising all the best

  • on October 9, 2012, 2:59 GMT

    Yah!!! go siaklot stallion's i'm rootin for you!!!

  • Meety on October 8, 2012, 23:50 GMT

    Finally Naved ul Hasan gets to play for his home team!

  • on October 8, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    I hope Sialkot Stallions do qualify for the main event and gets beaten to pulp by the indian franchises there..

  • ejsiddiqui on October 8, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Best of Luck Sialkot, May you win the tournament.

  • Syed_imran_abbas on October 8, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    where are expected teams player names? I am looking forward to see this.

  • on October 8, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    GOODLUCK SIALKOT STALLIONS...

  • on October 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    I think they will go far in this tournament... they have raza hassan who has proved to be a very good t20 bowler.

  • on October 8, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    Best of Luck for Sialkot Stallions..

  • on October 8, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    "One of the revelations of the World T20, left-arm spinner Rana Hasan, is also part of the squad."

    Rana hassan really? There are too many mistakes on this websites now than ever before..It's RAZA HASSAN!

    Looking forward to the competition though.

  • bipa on October 8, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    inshallah sialkot will win this

  • on October 8, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    BEST OF LUCK TO SIALKOT STALLIONS I LOVE TO SEE NAVED BOWL AND AZHAR

  • Surajdon9 on October 8, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Shoaib Malik will rock................

  • WellOfcours on October 8, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    A little correction there. Its Raza Hasan, not Rana Hasan... :)

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • WellOfcours on October 8, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    A little correction there. Its Raza Hasan, not Rana Hasan... :)

  • Surajdon9 on October 8, 2012, 14:42 GMT

    Shoaib Malik will rock................

  • on October 8, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    BEST OF LUCK TO SIALKOT STALLIONS I LOVE TO SEE NAVED BOWL AND AZHAR

  • bipa on October 8, 2012, 16:28 GMT

    inshallah sialkot will win this

  • on October 8, 2012, 17:50 GMT

    "One of the revelations of the World T20, left-arm spinner Rana Hasan, is also part of the squad."

    Rana hassan really? There are too many mistakes on this websites now than ever before..It's RAZA HASSAN!

    Looking forward to the competition though.

  • on October 8, 2012, 17:52 GMT

    Best of Luck for Sialkot Stallions..

  • on October 8, 2012, 18:04 GMT

    I think they will go far in this tournament... they have raza hassan who has proved to be a very good t20 bowler.

  • on October 8, 2012, 18:14 GMT

    GOODLUCK SIALKOT STALLIONS...

  • Syed_imran_abbas on October 8, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    where are expected teams player names? I am looking forward to see this.

  • ejsiddiqui on October 8, 2012, 19:49 GMT

    Best of Luck Sialkot, May you win the tournament.