Faysal Bank T-20 Cup 2012-13

Sialkot still the team to beat in Pakistan Twenty20

Umar Farooq

November 30, 2012

Comments: 10 | Text size: A | A

Sialkot Stallions
Coach: Ijaz Ahmed Jr
Captain: Shoaib Malik


Mohammad Yousuf scored a double hundred on his previous Test appearance at Lord's, Lord's, August 25, 2010
Mohammad Yousuf, captain of Lahore Lions, would be hoping to impress the Pakistan selectors © Getty Images
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Defending champions Sailkot Stallions are the most effective T20 side on the Pakistan domestic circuit. They have missed out on claiming the title only twice, winning it six times. They hold the record for the most number of consecutive wins, being unbeaten for 25 matches between 2006 and 2010. Stallions represented Pakistan in the Champions League in October this year, but failed to qualify for the main event - they lost the opening game against Auckland Aces but won their next game against Hampshire.

Opener Imran Nazir leads the solid top order, and the middle order is centred around captain Shoaib Malik. Seamer Naved-ul-Hasan and promising young left-arm spinner Raza Hasan lead the bowling attack. Stallions will miss spinner Abdur Rehman, who is serving a 12-week ban for using a recreational drug during his stint with Somerset in England.

Player to watch out for: Left-hand batsman Haris Sohail, one of the in-form Pakistan batsmen on the domestic circuit since 2010. He has scored 673 runs at 134.60, with four hundreds and two half-centuries in the President's Trophy. He also has a sound temperament, and could be in the national reckoning soon.

Lahore Lions
Coach: Mohsin Kamal
Captain: Mohammad Yousuf

Captained by experienced batsman Mohammad Yousuf, Lions possess nine active international players. Nasir Jamshed, Ahmed Shehzad, Kamran Akmal and Mohammad Hafeez, who has left his native side Faisalabad Wolves to join Wolves as a guest player, make up the top order. Umar Akmal, Yousuf and Abdul Razzaq bolster the middle order, and the bowling attack is led by left-arm fast bowler Wahab Riaz, Aizaz Cheema and Under-19 player Zia-ul-Haq. Lions, who claimed the 2010-11 title, are thus a potentially dominant side.

Player to watch out for: Thirty-eight-year-old Mohammad Yousuf is among the finest batsmen Pakistan has produced. Though not a big fan of Twenty20 cricket, he still holds a respectable batting strike rate of 110.86 in the domestic T20s. He hasn't played any domestic tournament since June 2011 and is keen to make a comeback to the national team.

Karachi Dolphins
Coach: Tauseef Ahmed
Captain: Shahid Afridi

Captained by Shahid Afridi, the line-up has powerful openers like Shahzaib Hasan and Khalid Latif, and Fawad Alam and Asad Shafique in the middle order. Their bowling is led by fast bowlers Sohail Khan, Mohammad Sami and Tanvir Ahmed.

Player to watch out for: There are few who carry the hopes of the public like Shahid Afridi. But he is currently struggling to make an impact with bat and ball. He had scored 30 runs in six matches at an average of six and claimed four wickets at 42.74 at the World Twenty20 in October. In his last ten international innings across all formats, he averages 6.30. He would be eager to find form ahead of the upcoming limited-overs series against India.

Rawalpindi Rams
Coach: Sabih Azhar
Captain: Sohail Tanvir

Rawalpindi Rams, the runners-up of the previous tournament in Karachi and the winner of inaugural edition of super-eight T20 in Faisalabad, are the underdogs. The side contains some specialist T20 players like Awais Zia, Sohail Tanvir and Yasir Arafat. Umar Amin and Umar Waheed are in the middle order and can rescue the side from any early wobbles. Mohammad Nawaz, a talented 18-year-old left-arm spinner, and Hammad Azam lead the bowling attack.

Player to watch out for: Awais Zia had a productive season last year. He was the leading run-getter for Rams and the fourth-highest overall with 177 runs from five games.

Bahawalpur Stags
Coach: Shahid Anwar
Captain: Bilal Khilji

This is the new team that has been introduced into the competition. Most of their local stars, like Bilal Khilji and Kamran Hussain, had featured for Multan in the previous tournaments and have finally landed in their own regional side. Stags made a handful of acquisitions, adding the likes of Kashif Siddique and Mohammad Talha to their line-up as guest players, to make up a formidable side. Former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider from Lahore is another guest player.

Player to watch out for: Mohammad Talha has gone out of contention after been a strong prospect for the national side. An injury-prone pacer, he would be looking for an opportunity to regain form.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (December 1, 2012, 10:14 GMT)

wow! in first match Shahid Afridi make a half century mark that's a good news guys :)

Posted by Tanvir110 on (December 1, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

i think Bahawalpur Stags give all other teams very tough time... hope they will make top four

Posted by MalikAnasAhmad on (December 1, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

watch out Rams they gonna do good this time

Posted by ejsiddiqui on (November 30, 2012, 21:37 GMT)

Lahore Lions and Sialkot seems to be very strong teams. Especially the betting of Lahore (All are National players).

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 19:54 GMT)

Sialkot is favourit for this tournament

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 18:50 GMT)

lahore lions have a wonderful team but m yousaf may not b able to handle them well at the age of 38 in T20 cricket...i think tournament wud b an open one...karachi dolphin lahore lions and faisalabad wolves are all good teams...looking fwd to c junaid khan, haris sohail and ehsan adil in action, the future of Pakistan cricket !

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 16:45 GMT)

waiting for national hero playing with and against each and other...

Posted by umairasgharbutt on (November 30, 2012, 16:07 GMT)

sialkot gonna win again :)

Posted by ahs123 on (November 30, 2012, 14:56 GMT)

there should have been more balanced sides... especially Bahawalpur Stags should have featured some more starts as guest players to make them competitive against teams like lahore lions and sialkot stalions .. nway hope to see a wonderful competition

Posted by   on (November 30, 2012, 12:40 GMT)

Haris Sohail and Awais Zia are v good players they should be in the Pak side

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