Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 Cricket: Rawalpindi becomes champion
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July 08, 2011
After taking some positive steps by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the revival of international cricket in the country, after the successful event of visiting Afghanistan cricket team, PCB organized the Faysal Bank Super Eight T-20 Cricket Tournament at Faisalabad where we easily can see that the cricket in Pakistan still alive and people of Pakistan wants to see top international teams to compete against the green shirts.

The day and night tournament get the house full public appearance as teen agers to 60 years old man come to stadium and enjoyed the cricket game where eight top teams including last time defending champion Lahore Lions, Sailkot Stallions, Islamabad Leopards, Hyderabad Hawks, Multan Tigers, Faisalabad Wolves, Rawalpindi Rams and Karachi Dolphins participated in the event.

Tournament semifinal and final matches shown really high standards and full of battle between the teams and which seen of major upsets in the tournament where favorites Lahore Lions, Sailkot Stallions and Faisalabad Wolves failed to reach in the tournament final encounter but Rawalpindi Rams which having very young players surprisingly qualify for the first time in the T-20 domestic cricket history. Now cricket become most famous game in Pakistan where young children or old person are wants to be in touch with this game though television, newspapers and physically participated.

In the final encounter between Karachi Dolphins and Rawalpindi Rams of T-20 cricket championship, the cricket pundit expected that Karachi Dolphins may became champion of the event as international players Muhammad Sami, Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam, Khalid Latif, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahzaib Hasan, Sohail Kha, Tanveer Ahmed represented the Karachi side but Rawlpindi Rams led by all rounder Sohail Tanveer and Coach Sabih Azhar thrown all the exceptions of cricket experts through the Rawalpindi Rams wonderful performance as more then 25000 cricket fans watched live one of best domestic cricket match was held as the final encounter was tied and event champion was decided in the super over. The Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 also confirmed that cricket in Pakistan is not just about court cases, and dysfunctional players and management . It was a berserk climax; Rawalpindi Rams lost wickets regularly but managed to stay alive till they entered the final over, needing nine to win with two wickets in hand.

Rawalpindi Rams brushed aside defending champion Lahore Lions by 47 runs in the first semi-final through wonderful performances of Jamal Anwar, Sohail Tanvir and Muhammad Sami.

In the final young left-arm spinner Raza Hasan, who represent Pakistan in last year against England, the real hero for Rawalpindi Rams as he held his nerve in the Super Over to hand them the Faysal Bank Super Eight T20 title. Rawalpindi seemed to have fluffed their chances of victory against Karachi Dolphins managed only one run in the final four balls of their chase of 165 to leave the game tied. But after they smashed 16 in the Super Over it was Karachi's turn to flounder, scoring only one off the final four deliveries of their over to slump to defeat. Sohail Khan took five wickets for Karachi but it wasn't enough to secure victory. Left Handed opener Awais Zia, who missed his bat in the first ball of super over also contributed their major role of Rawalpindi Rams victory as he hit two fours and one six to given the target of 17 of favorite side.

Six balls and 17 runs was the big target for Karachi Dolphins but Karachi opener Khalid Latif hit the six in the first ball maked more suspence not only the cricket fans but also for the organizers but very next ball changed the line of match as Khalid Latif out trough the top-edge to short fine-leg. The third delivery saw a dropped catch which resulted in a single, and then Hasan bowled three dot balls in a row as Shahzaib Hasan struggled to get bat on ball.

There was plenty of drama before the closing skirmish too. Also congratulations to Rawalpindi Rams on their wonderful victory in the sea saw battle to beat the Karachi Dolphins in the final. Young players of Rawalpindi Rams performed wonderfully under the umbrella of Rawalpindi coach Sabih Azhar whose been working very hard with the boys last 4 years or so.

This victory should benefit the National team in the sense that PCB should be looking towards Sohail Tanvir as Pakistan's next T20 Captain, and should draft him in straight away as the next World T20 is around the corner in 2012, in Sri-Lanka.

On the other hand after magnificent closing of T-20 super eight cup Pakistan are hoping to invite Afghanistan to take part in their next domestic Twenty20 tournament, likely to be held in September-October this year.

The tournament, according to the PCB's domestic head Sultan Rana, will be the calendar's full version with all 11 regions (and 13 teams as Karachi and Lahore have two teams) involved, unlike the recently-concluded Super Eight T20 which involved just the top eight sides of the country. If it goes ahead as scheduled it will be the third domestic T20 tournament held in one calendar year, an indication of just how popular the format is.

As with the Super Eight, the tournament will be held away from the bigger centres of Karachi and Lahore, where all the previous T20s had been held, in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad instead. "The response we got from the crowds in Faisalabad was so good that we feel it will be good to again go to the smaller centres and host it there," Rana said. "We were missing a few crowd-pullers for the event and yet we still managed excellent crowds.

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