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The Preview by Umar Farooq
October 1, 2011
The draw had seemed to favour Karachi, who were in the same group as depleted teams such as Islamabad Leopards and Peshawar Panthers, but Twenty20 is the most fickle form of the game. Sialkot Stallions, the five-time-champions, are finally back in the spotlight after thumping Lahore Lions and Quetta Bears, while Rawalpindi Rams beat Faisalabad Wolves to extend their winning streak and ease into the semi-finals.
Most of the games have been played in front of just a few thousand spectators at the National Stadium in Karachi, but a couple of contests that involved the home team, led by Shahid Afridi, had close to overflowing stands. Karachi, though, did not make the semi-finals, and it remains to be seen how many fans turn up to watch the final few matches.
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Out of favour Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul, who is captaining Peshawar, also has a point to prove to win back his place in the national side.
Rawalpindi are the defending champions and have responded well to the pressure of trying to retain their title, winning all three of their league games. Though they are a young side, they have not been overawed by the occasion and their strength in depth makes them a definite threat to repeat.
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"We weren't one of the fancied teams going into this tournament, but we have shown that we are a match for any team in this competition."
Lahore Eagles coach Manzoor Elahi is unfazed at the prospect of playing Sialkot
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