After recent setbacks, Pakistan gears up for National T20 Cup action today

September 23, 2021

National T20 Cup to serve as preparation for Pakistan cricket team ahead of ICC T20 World Cup

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(Left-right) Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Imam-ul-Haq and Sohaib Maqsood pose with the National T20 Cup trophy. Twitter/PCB Media

LAHORE: With New Zealand and England abandoning their Pakistan tours, Pakistani cricketers and fans are gearing up for the National T20 Cup action which will kick off today in Rawalpindi.

The 18th edition of the National T20 Cup will finish in Lahore with the final to be played at the Gaddafi Stadium on October 13.

The tournament — since its inception in 2005 — has been one of the key features of Pakistan’s domestic cricket and this year will also serve as robust preparation for ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

Statistician Mazher Arshad took a look at the statistical history of the tournament which was made available to APP.

Most successful team

Sialkot Stallions are the most successful team in the tournament winning it on six occasions [in 2006 twice, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011]. The next best region is Lahore who have won the title on five occasions — Lahore Lions thrice, Lahore Blues and Lahore Whites once each.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are the defending champions as they won the final against Southern Punjab in 2020, are the third most successful region in a way that their city Peshawar has also won the National T20 twice (in 2014 and 2015).

The remaining three titles have gone to Faisalabad Wolves (2005), Karachi Blues (2016) and Northern (2019).

Most runs

Khurram Manzoor — who is playing for Sindh — is the most prolific batsman in the tournament history with 2,643 runs. He is also the only batsman with four centuries in National T20.

There are three more batsmen — Kamran Akmal 2,377, Shoaib Malik 2,217, Umar Amin 2,047 — with 2,000 plus runs while the two closest to this milestone are Mohammad Hafeez (1,991 runs) and Sohaib Maqsood (1,883). Khyber Pakhtunkhwa captain Mohammad Rizwan (967) will also be looking to complete the 1,000-runs milestone.

Most wickets

Saeed Ajmal is the most successful bowler in the National T20 with 89 wickets, three of them coming in a player-of-the-match effort in Faisalabad Wolves’ win in the final against Karachi Dolphins in 2005.

At least two bowlers, Wahab Riaz (81 wickets) and Anwar Ali (79), will be looking to break Ajmal’s record in this year’s tournament. Both also have a realistic chance of becoming the first bowler to get to 100 wickets in the tournament.

Mohammad Hafeez (49 wickets) is one scalp away from becoming the first cricketer who has scored 1,000 runs and taken 50 scalps in the National T20 Cup.

Most sixes

Sohaib Maqsood, who hit 20 sixes in the previous edition of the tournament and helped Southern Punjab reach the final, is the most prolific six hitter in the National T20 Cup with 91 maximums. The next best is Northern’s hard-hitting batsman Asif Ali, who has hit 86 sixes. Both are within a good distance of becoming the first to strike 100 sixes in National T20.

Highest scores

The only individual innings of 150 runs by a Pakistani batsman also came in this tournament when Kamran Akmal hit an unbeaten 150 for Lahore Whites against Islamabad in Rawalpindi four years ago. Twelve sixes in that innings is also a tournament record.

The next two highest scores belong to Mukhtar Ahmed – 123 for Sialkot in 2015 and 117 for FATA in in 2017 (both against Karachi Whites). Each of the top three highest scores in NationalT20 have come at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Best bowling performances

Irfan-ud-din’s record of six wickets for 25 runs remians unbroken even after 15 years. Karachi Dolphins’ off-break bowler made this record against Sialkot Stallions in Karachi in 2006. The best bowling figures by a fast bowler belongs to Mohammad Asif, who playing for Stallions and took 5 wickets for 11 runs against Faisalabad Wolves in 2006.

With Shaheen Afridi taking two five-fours in last year’s National T20 and Wahab Riaz one, we can expect some impressive bowling performances this year.

National T20 winners

2005 — Faisalabad Wolves

2006 — Sialkot Stallions

2006 — Sialkot Stallions

2008 — Sialkot Stallions

2009 — Sialkot Stallions

2010 — Sialkot Stallions

2010 — Lahore Lions

2011 — Sialkot Stallions

2012 — Lahore Lions

2014 — Lahore Lions

2014 — Peshawar Panthers

2015 — Peshawar

2016— Karachi Blues

2017 — Lahore Blues

2018— Lahore Whites

2019 — Northern

2020 — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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