KARACHI: An action-packed Faysal Bank Super-Eight Twenty20 event will commence today at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, much to the delight of cricket fans disappointed by Pakistan’s One-Day International (ODI) series loss in South Africa.
Sialkot Stallions will be aiming to defend their crown after being drawn with Lahore Lions, Multan Tigers and Abbottabad Falcons in Group A as the star-studded teams look to impose their superiority.
On the other hand, Group B consists of winless Karachi Dolphins, dark horses Rawalpindi Rams, surprise package Bahawalpur Stags and winners of the first domestic T20 event Faisalabad Wolves.
The winner of the event will receive Rs2.5 million, while the runners-up will fetch Rs1 million. The top two teams from each group will get a place in the semi-final.
‘Dolphins can end their drought’
Karachi’s chief selector and former player Rashid Latif said he is confident Dolphins can finally end the long wait for their maiden T20 title this time around.
It is pertinent to mention that ever since Latif took charge, Karachi Blues and Karachi Zebras – a similar team with different name – won the Quaid-i-Azam Trophy and were joint winners of the National One-day Cup with Lahore Lions.
“Dolphins have always been a good side and I feel we can win the title,” Latif told The Express Tribune. “There are several fighters in the squad who are capable of winning matches on their own. The important thing would be how captain Mohammad Sami and coach Tauseef Ahmed utilise their talented squad.”
It’s agonising to be sidelined: Haris Sohail
Meanwhile, Haris Sohail – the hero of the last Super Eight T20 event – said he was disappointed that he would be unable play in the event as he was going through a rehabilitation process on his injured ankle ligament.
“I’m gutted to miss the event and especially the atmosphere in which Stallions play T20 tournaments,” said Haris, who made a half-century in the last Super-Eight T20 final to help Stallions defeat Dolphins in the final.
“I sustained this injury in South Africa which was a blow as I could’ve gone on to make my international debut there. “
Rams capable of beating anyone: Umar Amin
Talented left-hand batsman Umar Amin remained confident that the Rams, the winners of the first edition of the event, have a perfect blend of seniors and youngsters to defeat any side.
“We’ve got an excellent team led by Sohail Tanvir, Yasir Arafat, Awais Zia, Hammad Azam, myself and Naved Malik,” said Amin.
“The youngsters are in excellent form as well which gives us an edge over other teams in the tournament.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2013.