By Kaukab Azhar
The first leg of the National T20 Cup saw plenty of ups and downs in Multan and a fresh phase in Rawalpindi expects a lot more entertainment and excitement.
Here are five talking points from the first round of matches:
1. Can any team challenge Northern (Pakistan)?
Northern undoubtedly has been the most dominant team in the first phase of the tournament, having won five out of five games they played. Shadab has led the side extremely well and the team has the right mix of international and domestic players who are in form. Aggressive openers (Ali Imran, Zeeshan Malik, Umar Amin), Power hitters (Asif Ali, RohailNazir), all-rounders (Shadab, Imad, Nawaz), and pacers (Musa, Haris, Amir, SohailTanvir); Northern seems to have all bases covered.
2. Will the fans get better media coverage?
The biggest disappointment of the tournament so far has been the coverage of the event. Dark images, scorecard errors, and inexplicable font sizes have received severe criticism from the viewers. Surely, all this can be fixed before the next round of matches.
3. Abdullah Shafiq: The next big thing?
The top run-scorer in the tournament so far has won praise from all corners. The 20-year old youngster lit up the tournament with a debut century. He has impressed everyone with his composure and technique. The stage is set for him to state a claim in the national side with performances in the second phase of the tournament.
4. How many wickets will Shaheen get?
Shaheen Shah Afridi is in the form of his life. With the pitches offering very little for the bowlers, almost every pacer has gone for plenty in the tournament so far but he seems to be operating on a separate deck. Shaheen Shah has picked up 12 wickets with two fivers in four matches. Shaheen is most likely to end up with the most number of wickets in the tournament but can he lead KPK to win the trophy?
5. Will we see a low scoring match?
The pitches in Multan were absolutely placid. We haven’t seen any match with both the teams scoring less than 150 in an inning. A score of 200+ was posted in 6 out of 14 matches so far. A high-quality tournament demands a balance between bat and ball. Hopefully, the pitches in Rawalpindi will offer some assistance to the spinners and fast bowlers.