LAHORE: Helped by a fiery 86 runs from Babar Azam and disciplined bowling, Pakistan easily defeated World XI by 20 runs Tuesday here at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Spinners consolidated Pakistan’s gains in the middle, slowing the World XI’s run rate after Rumman Raees took the side’s openers in sixth over of the inning. Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal (18) and Hashim Amla (26) started in a brisk fashion before both fell victim to Rumman Raees in the sixth over of World XI innings after giving their side a solid start.
Tamim was bowled while Amla offered a simple catch to Imad Wasim, paving way for World XI’s Faf du Plessis to come in to bat. The skipper played a brief but a classic inning of 29 off 18 balls, which included four boundaries and a six. Shadab Khan took the breakthrough for Pakistan by dismissing him by his googly.
Tim Paine was caught by Raees off a delivery from Sohail Khan after run a ball 25. David Miller managed to score only 9 runs before being stumped off Shadab’s bowling. Thisara Perera and Grant Elliott attempted close in on the gap by hitting a few fours but Elliott was caught off Sohail Khan’s bowling, leaving the World XI at 145 for six in the 17th over.
Earlier, a magnificent innings by Babar Azam complemented by late power show by Shoaib Malik led Pakistan to 197-5. Pakistan started their innings badly as they lost their first wicket in the very first over of the game as Fakhar Zaman edged to first slip on the bowl of Morne Morkel. Zaman also survived a scare when a thick edge on the very first ball of the match went past his wickets as well as wicket-keeper Tim Paine. Darren Sammy gtried to give a scare to Pakistan but Hasan Ali who proved otherwise quite expensive one, kept his cool and led Pakistan to victory without any serious damage.
After the dismissal of Zaman, Babar Azam joined the crease with Ahmad Shahzad and never looked into any trouble before scoring his highest total in T20 internationals. Azam played a magnificent knock in front of the home crowd to register his second fifty of the nine-match T20 career in the 10th over of the innings.
100 came up for Pakistan in the 12th over with a single off Shehzad, who was caught out by Darren Sammy in the 15th over bowled by Ben Cutting. Shehzad and Babar Azam shared a 122-run partnership for the second wicket and put Pakistan in cruise control. Shehzad was however still looked troubled with his form as he made 39 runs off 34 balls hitting just three fours. Azam played a magnificent knock but fell short of his century when he was dismissed by Imran Tahir for 86. He hit 10 fours and a six.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed failed to score big as he was caught behind on a delivery of Sri Lankan bowler Thesara Perera. Ahmed scored 4 runs. Shoaib Malik took ahead Pakistani innings with his formidable 38 runs off 20 balls. He scored four boundaries and two sixes. Malik was dismissed by Sri Lankan bowler Thisara Perera. Imad Wasim was the next batsman to come. He scored a massive six in the last ball of the Pakistani batting inning.
Earlier, the World XI won the toss and elected to bowl first against Pakistan. Speaking after the toss, skipper Sarfraz said the team wanted to bat first and are looking forward to an exciting match. He also remarked that there could be no better opportunity for the young players to show their talent. “Our main focus is on cricket now,” said the team captain. M Aamir misses the series due to the birth of his first child, while M Nawaz, Usman Khan Shinwari and Umar Amin also sit out the first game.
Captain of World XI, Faf du Plesis, referred to the match, as a ‘historic moment’, adding that he is honoured to lead Word XI and playing the match will be a new experience for all the visiting side. Plesis, referred to the match, as a ‘historic moment’, adding that he is honoured to lead Word XI and playing the match will be a new experience for all the visiting side.