LAHORE: Pakistan on Tuesday took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in a match before excited crowds amid tight security. The Twenty20 match, accorded international status by the International Cricket Council, is the first game of only the second series Pakistan has hosted since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff. Long before it began at 7:00 pm (1400 GMT), around 9,000 police officers and paramilitary forces were deployed to the area, cordoning off the team’s hotels and stadium. But the large security presence did little to temper the enthusiasm of fans in the cricket-mad country.
“I came here early to watch the teams come but that was not possible due to security so I only watched them in the ground and it made my day,” said spectator Azfar Ali.
Pakistan, sent into bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197-5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. His career best Twenty20 score had ten boundaries and two sixes.
Azam added 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad (39) as Pakistan built on the loss of opener Fakhar Zaman for eight.
Shoaib Malik smashed a 20-ball 38 with two sixes and four boundaries to give the final touches to the innings.
The World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman Raees dismissed both in the same over to put the brakes on their innings.
Skipper Faf du Plessis hit four boundaries and a six while Darren Sammy smashed three sixes — both scoring 29 — but were unable to see their team through. — AFP
PAKISTANPAKISTANFakhar Zaman c Amla b Morkel 8Ahmed Shehzad c Sammy b Cutting 39Babar Azam c Miller b Tahir 86Shoaib Malik b Perera 38Sarfraz Ahmed c Paine b Perera 4Imad Wasim not out 15Fahim Ashraf not out 0Extras: (lb1, w6) 7Total: (for five wkts, 20 overs) 197Fall of wickets: 1-8, 2-130, 3-142, 4-161, 5-182Bowling: Morkel 4-0-32-1, Perera 4-0-51-2, Cutting 4-0-38-1, Tahir 4-0-34-1, Elliott 2-0-17-0, Sammy 2-0-24-0World XITamim Iqbal b Raees 18Hashim Amla c Wasim b Raees 26T Paine c Raees b Khan 25F du Plessis c sub b Shadab 29D Miller c Ahmed b Shadab 9G Elliott c Wasim b Khan 14T Perera run out 17D Sammy not out 29B Cutting not out 0Extras: (lb6, w4) 10Total: (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 177Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-48, 3-101, 4-108, 5-123, 6-145, 7-173Bowling: Wasim 4-0-22-0, Khan 4-0-28-2, Hasan 4-0-44-0, Raees 3-0-37-2, Ashraf 1-0-7-0, Shadab 4-0-33-2