National T20 Cup 2022: Tournament Preview

Players will look to make an impact in the tournament to stake a claim for a spot in Pakistan's T20 World Cup squad.

Pakistan’s domestic season 2022/23 is set to kickstart, with the prized National T20 Cup due to commence on August 30.

Despite Pakistan’s first-team players away for international duty at the Asia Cup, the National T20 will hold paramount importance, with the ICC T20 World Cup less than two months away. The stakes will be high, with several spots still up for grabs. Here is a deeper look at how the teams shape up for the tournament.

Balochistan

Overview

Seasoned campaigner Yasir Shah has been announced as Balochistan’s skipper for this year’s edition, with Shan Masood named as his deputy. With a healthy blend of youth and experience, Balochistan will look to make a mark in the tournament this time around.

Balochistan have bolstered their batting department with the inclusion of the in-form Asad Shafiq. The ever-impressive Haris Sohail, too, returns after a long layoff. A lot of onus will be on Haseebullah Khan and Abdul Wahid Bangalzai, two youngsters with a reputation.

With Hussain Talat and Amad Butt likely to slot in the lower-middle order, Balochistan will hope for a powerful finish at the back end of the innings. Given both players showed reasonable form in the recently concluded Kashmir Premier League, the management will hope for a solid tournament.

The major area of concern will be the bowling department. Although Yasir Shah and Kashif Bhatti have loads of experience, the two have struggled in the T20 format. The pace bowling, too, looks lean. Junaid Khan’s experience could come in handy, but his lack of playing time could be an unfavorable factor. Young pacers Akif Javed and Khurram Shehzad have shown loads of promise, but they will need to step up big time for Balochistan to do well.

Expected XI

  1. Shan Masood
  2. Haseebullah Khan (wk)
  3. Abdul Wahid Bangalzai
  4. Asad Shafiq
  5. Haris Sohail
  6. Hussain Talat
  7. Amad Butt
  8. Yasir Shah (c)
  9. Khurram Shahzad
  10. Akif Javed
  11. Junaid Khan

Central Punjab

Overview

Faheem Ashraf, who recently led the Jammu Janbaz at the Kashmir Premier League, will now be tasked with leading Central Punjab, with the exciting Abdullah Shafique named his deputy.

Central Punjab’s hopes will depend heavily on their power-packed top order. While Shafique and Shehzad will be expected to give them fluent starts in the powerplay, a lot of the team’s success will rely on Shoaib Malik’s experience in the middle overs. Their middle order will be packed with all-rounders, including the highly rated Qasim Akram. Faheem Ashraf, who will likely play as a lower-order finisher, will also have an integral role to play with the bat.

The worry for Central Punjab will be their pace bowling depth. Wahab Riaz will have a massive role, given he will lead a young pace attack. The pace-bowling options at the bench, too, look like a worry heading into the tournament. Moreover, the cluster of all-rounders in the middle could leave them with very few frontline batters, highlighting Shoaib Malik’s key role. The likes of Mohammad Akhlaq, Rizwan Hussain, or Umar Akmal could have been good additions, but they are included in the Central Punjab 2nd XI squad.

Expected XI

  1. Abdullah Shafique
  2. Ahmed Shehzad
  3. Shoaib Malik
  4. Irfan Niazi
  5. Qasim Akram
  6. Faheem Ashraf (c)
  7. Mohammad Faizan
  8. Junaid Ali (wk)
  9. Wahab Riaz
  10. Usama Mir
  11. Ahmed Daniyal

Northern