KARACHI: The sixth edition of the most popular domestic cricket tournament, the RBS Twenty20 Cup, will start from Sunday with all 18 matches scheduled to be played here at the National Stadium.
The official launching of the event was held here on Wednesday with the sponsors, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), announcing no change in the prize-money that was given at the previous tournament staged in Lahore last May. It means the winners will receive Rs2.5 million and the runners-up Rs1 million.
While addressing a media conference, Salman Sarwar Butt who is the head of RBS Retail Banking, said his bank would continue to support Pakistan’s domestic cricket with the same commitment as they had been doing for the past several seasons.
“The RBS, which is a flourishing bank with 79 branches in Pakistan, has spent something in the region of Rs40 million in supporting domestic cricket in the country. We are proud to be involved with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) in this regard,” Salman said.
“Hopefully, our association with the PCB will continue in the future as well because cricket is a commercially viable sport, particularly the T20 format.
“As always RBS Twenty20 is indeed a big event with a lot of public interest. We hope the forthcoming tournament will be watched by sizeable crowd during the eight days of competition in a peaceful environment.”
Salman further said that the event will motivate the teams to display their full cricketing skills before Pakistan finalise their squad for the World Twenty20 Championships in the West Indies.
Wazir Ali Khoja, an influential member of PCB’s Governing Body, remarked that the participation of RBS would encourage other sponsors to come forward and support cricket in Pakistan.
“What the RBS has been doing is very commendable. The PCB is extremely grateful to them for sponsoring our domestic cricket. We hope other institutions follow suit and sponsor Pakistan cricket,” Khoja said.
“Despite the fact that we are unable to see international teams playing here, the Twenty20 tournament will attract people in large numbers to the ground because a majority of national players would be participating for various teams. We hope the tournament turns out be a grand success.”
Sirajul Islam Bukhari, the long-serving honorary secretary of the Karachi City Cricket Association (KCCA), expressed the hope tournament is played in the right spirit by all 13 competing outfits.
“We are glad to see the event being held here after a lapse of three years because the cricket-starved people of Karachi deserve some entertainment in the form of top-class Twenty20 competition.
“The KCCA will coordinate with the PCB to ensure an incident-free tournament to maximise the enjoyment of the public coming to the ground,” Bukhari said.
“Everyone will notice the stringent security measures we are taking for the safety of all concern.” The tournament concludes with the grand final on March 7.