Lahore: Last year’s runners-up Balochistan, under the leadership of Haris Sohail will start their National T20 Cup campaign against Sindh, who is led by wicket-keeper batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed in the first match of the second day of the tournament.
Both teams are balanced in all departments. Balochistan will look to go one step further this year whereas Sindh will try to perform well as their last year was miserable.
Balochistan’s opening duo of Awais Zia and Imam-ul-Haq will aim to replicate past year performances. The 34-year-old Awais was last year’s highest run-getter. Imam will once again prove his worth as a T20 batsman eyeing a permanent spot in the national team.
Haris will be accompanied by his deputy Bismillah Khan, senior batsman Imran Farhat and Akbar-ur-Rehman in the middle order. Amad Butt will play the all-round role to compliment with both bat and ball.
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The bowling attack will be led by T20 pro Umar Gul with support of young Akif Javed, Yasir Shah, Kashif Bhatti, and leg-spinner Usama Mir.
Sindh who finished at No.5 last year will be led by new captain Sarfaraz who played as a wicket-keeper batsman only and Asad Shafiq led the squad. Saud Shakeel has been named as Sarfaraz’s deputy, a young and emerging left-handed batsman who hails from Karachi.
They have all the firepower with the bat. The opening duo comprises of Khurram Manzoor, the all-time leading run-getter of the National T20 Cup, and hard-hitting Sharjeel Khan. In middle-order, they have Asad, Ahsan Ali, Azam Khan, all-rounders Anwar Ali and Hassan Khan.
The 20-year-old Mohammad Hasnain will lead the bowling attack with the help of veteran Sohail Khan, Mohammad Asghar and Ghulam Mudassir.
Northern vs Southern Punjab
Southern Punjab would be eyeing their first win of the event after suffering a 7-wicket loss against Central Punjab last night. Meanwhile, Northern are coming with a heavy 79-win against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
SP batted well as they posted 200-8 after winning the toss but their bowling led them down massively. Aamir Yamin was the only standout who bowled a powerful first over. They might bring in Bilawal Bhatti for tonight’s match and hope that veteran 7 ft 1 inch Mohammad Irfan bowl well. Captain Shan Masood will hope that his spinners Zahid Mehmood and Umer Khan hold the middle-overs as they leaked runs last night.
Northern will aim to continue their winning run as they put up an excellent show in the tournament’s opener, keeping in mind that they were without their regular captain Imad Wasim and senior pacer Mohammad Amir. They will once again rely on Haider Ali and Zeeshan Malik to ignite the eve with their talent.