No replay of final round Quaid matches; HBL, SNGPL in final
The last round of the Quaid-e-Azam trophy matches, which were indefinitely put on hold following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, will not be replayed. Instead, Habib Bank (HBL) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGPL), who topped their respective groups going in to the final round, will now contest the final of the tournament, to be held in Karachi from January 7-11.
The decision represents a u-turn of sorts from the Pakistan board, who earlier had said that the affected matches - ten in all, of which eight were in progress - would be replayed.
But Zakir Khan, PCB's director cricket operations, told reporters after a board meeting that according to domestic rules under which the tournament operates, matches could not be replayed. However, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Sialkot played out a replay of an earlier game that wasn't completed due to an unsuitable pitch, a move which drew protests from several teams in the tournament.
The last round of matches would have made little difference in Group B, where SNGPL were already assured of their place in the final. And HBL were on the verge of securing their place in the final in any case; they were about to win against Karachi Whites, a result that would've sent them through ahead of NBP.
Some repercussions might have been felt for the relegation spots in each group though it still isn't clear how many teams will be eventually relegated. All matches will now be considered drawn though no points will be awarded to the teams.
The meeting also decided to postpone the domestic Twenty20 championships indefinitely. The tournament, among the most popular domestically, was originally scheduled to be played from January 8-14. It was then rescheduled to February 9, but has now been put on hold altogether.
However, the Pentangular trophy, played among the top five teams of the country, will go ahead from February 10. It will have a break between as the country goes to the polls from February 18, before resuming again from February 22 and running till March 15.
The board will also hold a two-day High-performance camp from January 12, for players who impressed during the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. Twenty-four players are expected to attend the camp, to be held in Karachi.