Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:21

Pakistan beat World XI by 20 runs

LAHORE, Tuesday - Pakistan beat the World XI by 20 runs in an exciting finish to the first Twenty20 match in Lahore on Tuesday, celebrating the return of international cricket to the country amid tight security.

It is only the second time Pakistan has hosted an international match since a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, also in Lahore.

Pakistan's total of 197-5 saw one-drop batsman Babar Azam top-scoring with a 52-ball 86 studded with 10 boundaries and two sixes, adding 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad who made 39.

The World XI finished with 177 with Darren Sammy and skipper Faf du Plessis scoring 29 each. For Pakistan Sohail Khan, Shadab Khan and Rumman Raees took two wickets apiece.

The second and third matches are also in Lahore on Wednesday and Friday.

Pakistan plundered 48 runs off the last three overs to cruise to 197 for 5. Babar Azam started well, and kept the runs coming with some lovely strokes through his innings. Then, the World XI came back just after the halfway stage of the innings with some clever changes in pace. But then Pakistan finished strong again to finish with a more-than handy total.

"It was a very important match, after Champions Trophy. No praise is too high for our players, especially Babar Azam, and the way Ahmed Shehzad played, and the way Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim finished the innings,” said Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

“We've got some very good players, which is why the selection committee is giving them a lot of opportunities. Our fitness is getting better day after day, and the humidity today was a test of it, and we passed it."

World XI captain Faf du Plessis said: "It was a good game, I thought Pakistan played exceptionally well. I thought it was a 180 wicket, so maybe we gave away 20 runs too many. Our bowling was possibly one-dimensional. They had a lot of variety, spinners, left-arm, right-arm. It was a great occasion to play here, and as soon as we walked into the field, it was just a normal game. I needed to get a 50 or 60 for us to win. Quick turnaround, I don't think I've ever played two T20s in two days. Great to play in front of the Pakistani fans, hopefully next two games we can get a full house."

Babar Azam named Player of the Match said: "There was no pressure. It was just a slow wicket, so I thought I'll take my time and play my natural game. Once I got a partnership with Ahmed bhai, I just wanted to take it as far as I could."

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