LAHORE – Top cricketers of the country to feature in the most entertaining cricket event the Faysal Bank National Twenty20 Super Eight Tournament to be played from March 26 here at Gaddafi Stadium.

“The event attracts the country's best eight teams having the representation of the entire cricket playing regions,” said Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Director Domestic Zakir Khan here at a logo unveiling ceremony of the event at a local hotel on Thursday.

“The three-year partnership between the PCB and Faysal Bank has set a precedent which has gone a long way in uplifting the standard of domestic cricket in the country,” he said and added: “Faysal Bank Twenty20 Super Eight National Tournament 2013 is an important event in the domestic calendar for which the Faysal Bank’s support is vital in ensuring high standards. The PCB is committed to continuously improve the standard and competitiveness of its Twenty20 cricket, to bring it at par with the other cricketing nations,” Zakir added.

He said he was positive that people living in the city would enjoy the presence of the national stars and the razzle-dazzle of the T20 format. “The support of the Faysal Bank has been of critical importance in ensuring that the event not just maintains but improves upon the standard displayed in the last edition, attracting big audiences filling the stadium,” he said.

The PCB official said a total of eight teams would be participating in the event which were divided into two groups. Three matches will be played every day and total 15 matches will be organised among the eight participating teams here at the Gaddafi Stadium.

“The event will be featured by the topmost cricketing talent in the country and these matches will be telecast live by a local sports channel. The opening match will be played between Faisalabad Wolves and Bahawalpur Stags while the semi-finals will be held on March 30 and the final on March 31. The winning team will receive the cash purse of Rs 2.5 million while the runners-up will earn Rs 1 million,” the PCB official said.

To a query regarding participation of Pakistan national team players in the event, Zakir replied: “All the top players of the country are taking part in the event including Shahid Afridi as he did not get any reporter from the concerned department regarding their refusal to appear in the event.”

Head Retail Faysal Bank Aarij Ali reiterated the bank’s commitment to cricket and said: “Our Corporate Brand promises ‘Bank on Ambition’ ties perfectly with the sponsorship of the domestic cricket platform. We aim to be here for the long haul. We want each and every Pakistani to identify the ambition within himself. Faysal Bank believes in the power of positive self worth and belief. The talent we get to see on ground through this tournament goes on to represent us to the world so the success of this tournament translates into the success of Pakistan on the international platform.” The final of the event will be played on March 31.

Lahore Lions, Sialkot Stallions, Multan Tigers and Abbottabad Falcons are placed in Group A while Faisalabad Wolves, Bahawalpur Stags, Rawalpindi Rams and Karachi Dolphins are placed in Group B.

Following are the teams:

ABBOTTABAD FALCONS: Younas Khan (capt), Yasir Hameed, Junaid Khan, Adnan Raees, Yasir Shah, Ahmed Jamal, Mir Azam, Haroon, Syed Hammad Ali Shah, Sohail Akhtar, Rameez Ahmed, Ikramullah, Sajjad Ali, Khalid Usman, Amjad Waqas, Inaam Khan, Fazal-e-Rabi, Babar Khan, Abid Zaman Khan (manager) and Sajjad Akbar (coach).

FAISALABAD WOLVES: Misbahul Haq (capt), Asif Ali, Ali Waqas, Khurram Shahzad, Zahoor Ahmad, Naveed Latif, M Salman, Waqas Maqsood, Samiullah Niazi, Asad Ali, Saeed Ajmal, Ehsan Adil, Hassan Mahmood, Sabir Hussain, Jehandad, Farrukh Shahzad, Asif Hussain, Imran Khalid, Tariq Fareed (manager), Naveed Anjum (coach).

KARACHI DOLPHINS: Shahid Khan Afridi (capt), Khalid Latif, Khurram Manzoor, Shahzaib Hassan, Fawad Alam, Sarfraz Ahmad, M Sami, Asad Shafiq, Anwar Ali, Atif Maqbool, Azam Hussain, Fakhar Zaman, Akbarur Rehman, Mir Hamza, Misbah Khan, Sohail Khan, Abdul Ameer, Fawad Khan, Visaluddin Ansari (manager) and Tauseef Ahmad (coach).

RAWALPINDI RAMS: Babar Naeem, Naveed Malik, Awais Zia, Umar Amin, Yasim Murtaza, M Nawaz, Hammad Azam, Sohail Tanvir (captain), Jamal Anwar, Samiullah, Akhtar Ayub, Umar Waheed, Zahid Mansoor, Nasir Malik, Shoaib Ahmad, Saad Altaf, Yasir Arafat, Adil Gulbahar, Ameer Ahmad Shah (manager) and Sabih Azhar (coach).

MULTAN TIGERS: Rahat Ali, M Irfan, Zulfiqar Babar, Sohaib Maqsood (capt), Saeed Anwar Jr, Naveed Yasin, Rizwan Haider, Adeel Hanif, Kashif Naveed, Rameez Alam, Maqbool Ahmed, Gulraiz Saddaf, Shahbaz Hussain, Aamir Yamin, Shahzad Ahmad, Zeeshan Ashraf, Zain Abbas, Shahab Elahi, Ejaz Ahmad (manager) and Waseem Haider (coach).

SIALKOT STALLIONS: Shoaib Malik (capt), Imran Nazir, Shakeel Ansar, Shahid Yousaf, Mansoor Amjad, Ayub Dogar, Faisal Naveed, Adeel Malik, Rana Naveedul Hassan, Bilawal Bhatti, Umaid Asif, Abdul Rehman, Raza Hassan, Naveed Arif, Rizwan Sultan, Majid Ilyas, Ali Khan, Haris Sohail, Naeem Akhtar (manager), Ijaz Ahmad Jr (coach).

LAHORE LIONS: M Hafeez (capt), Nasir Jamshaid, Ahmad Shahzad, Umar Akmal, Ali Azmat, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Wahab Riaz, Ziaul Haq, M Irfan, Imamul Haq, Tanzeel Altaf, M Waqas Sr, Adnan Rasool, Sohail Ahmad, Abdul Ghaffar, Farooq Aslam, M Nasir (manager) and Mohsin Kamal (coach).

BAHAWALPUR STAGS: Hammad Tariq, Faisal Mubashir, Zeeshanul Haq, Moinuddin, Bilal Khilji (capt), Mustansar Hussain, Noman Akram, Attaullah, Mudassar Rai, Ansar Javed, Ahmad Raza, Zeeshan Khalid, Imranullah Aslam, Faisal Elahi, Kamran Hussain, Waqas Khan, Rehan Rafiq, Zaka Rasheed, Moin Khanzada (manager), Shahid Anwar (coach).