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Mohammad Rizwan has been appointed captain of the Federal Areas cricket team, which will aim to complete a hat-trick of Pakistan Cup titles in the upcoming tournament starting from April 2 at Rawalpindi Stadium.

The defending champions will be joined by other four provincial sides in the 50-over tournament.

Federal Areas played under the name of Islamabad in the inaugural edition and failed to finish in the top two. However, under a new name, they bounced back in style in the 2017 final when they chased down a 324-run target to beat Balochistan by one wicket off the final delivery of the match.

Last year in the finals, Federal Areas comfortably defeated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by five wickets when they achieved the 253-run target with five wickets and nine overs to spare.

This year, Federal Areas will open their title defence on the second day of the tournament on April 3 against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which will be led by Salman Butt.

The opening fixture will be between Punjab and Balochistan, which will be captained by Kamran Akmal and Asad Shafiq, respectively.

The five sides have been picked by the national selection committee, which is headed by Inzamam-ul-Haq. Players who have been playing consistently for the Pakistan cricket team have not been included as part of the selectors’ policy of providing them sufficient rest prior to the all-important ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

With the 15-player squad for the World Cup to be announced after the Pakistan Cup, the tournament provides another opportunity to the cricketers to make their name for the all-important event in England and Wales this summer.

“We have always selected players on their performances in domestic cricket. If there are any extraordinary performances on positions which are up for grabs, then those top performers will definitely be considered,” chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq said.

“The purpose of announcing the World Cup squad after the Pakistan Cup is to give value and importance to this tournament in which all the top performers below the national team players are playing and they deserve to be given equal and fair opportunity before the national side is finalised and announced.”

Squads

Balochistan

Asad Shafiq (captain); Ali Imran; Ammad Butt; Awais Zia; Bismillah Khan (WK); Fawad Alam; Ghulam Mudassar; Haris Rauf; Mohammad Irfan Sr; Qaiser Ashraf; Taj Wali; Umar Khan; Umer Akmal; Waqar Hussain (WK) and Zeeshan Ashraf

Federal Areas

Mohammad Rizwan (WK, captain); Ahmed Shehzad; Asad Afridi; Bilal Asif; Israrullah; Khurram Shahzad; Mohammad Nawaz; Nihal Mansoor; Ramiz Raja Jr; Rumman Raees; Sameen Gul; Saud Shakil; Sohaib Maqsood; Waqas Maqsood and Zia-ul-Haq

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Salman Butt (captain); Abid Ali; Adil Amin; Adnan Akmal (WK); Faizan Riaz; Khushdil Shah; Mohammad Irfan; Mohammad Irfan Jr; Mohammad Saad; Sohail Khan; Musa Khan; Umaid Asif; Wahab Riaz; Zeeshan Malik and Zohaib Khan

Punjab

Kamran Akmal (WK, captain); Anwar Ali; Bilawal Bhatti; Ehsan Adil; Fahad Iqbal; Iftikhar Ahmed; Kashif Bhatti; Khurram Manzoor; Mohammad Asghar; Mohammad Sami; Ramiz Aziz; Saad Ali; Sami Aslam; Sohail Tanveer and Waleed Ahmed

Sindh

Umer Gul (captain); Ahsan Ali; Amir Yamin; Ashiq Ali; Asif Ali; Hammad Azam; Imran Rafiq; Mohammad Hassan (WK); Mohammad Hasnain; Mohammad Ilyas; Nauman Ali; Rahat Ali; Sahibzada Farhan; Umar Amin and Umar Siddique (WK)

Fixtures (matches start 2pm)

Tue, 2 April – Punjab v Balochistan

Wed, 3 April - Federal Areas v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Thu, 4 April – Balochistan v Sindh

Fri, 5 April – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Punjab

Sat, 6 April – Sindh v Federal Areas

Sun, 7 April – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa v Balochistan

Mon, 8 April - Punjab v Federal Areas

Tue, 9 April – Sindh v Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Wed, 10 April - Federal Areas v Balochistan

Thu, 11 April – Punjab v Sindh

Fri, 12 April - Final

#Pakistan Cup 2019#Punjab#Khyber Pakhtunkhwa#Sindh#Balochistan#Federal Areas