Clinical Pakistan outclass World XI in first T20I

By Krunal, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer

1st T20I: Pakistan vs World XI at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Sep 12 - 2017, Cricket highlights

The Independence Cup was off to a really good start with the crowd, which came out in large numbers at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, getting to witness a high-scoring match between Pakistan and World XI. Pakistan, who racked up a massive total of 197 on the board, were successfully able to defend it as they won the first T20I by 20 runs.

Babar Azam was the star with the bat for Pakistan, with the no. 3 scoring a 52-ball 86. He played proper cricketing shots and timed the ball superbly throughout his innings. Along with Ahmed Shehzad, the two laid the foundation for a big first innings total. Faf du Plessis tried all his options to break the partnership, but to no avail. Both the batsmen batted really well as they took their team’s total past the 100-run mark inside 12 overs.

The 122-run partnership was finally broken by Ben Cutting when he got Ahmed Shehzad caught at deep square-leg. One brings two and this time around, it was Imran Tahir, who got rid of Babar Azam in the very next over. Two big wickets in two overs and World XI were right back in the match.

At the end of 17 overs, Pakistan’s score read 149/3 and their chances of reaching 190 appeared to be bleak at this stage. But the in-form Shoaib Malik was still out in the middle. And he played a brilliant cameo of 38 (off just 20 balls), which provided the impetus Pakistan required in the slog overs. It was because of Malik and Imad Wasim – who blasted 15 off just 4 balls – that the hosts finished with 197 in their 20 overs.

During the chase, World XI were off to a solid start with the openers scoring 39 runs off the first five overs. It was then Ruman Raees, who got rid of both Hashim Amla and Tamim Iqbal in the same over to give a double blow to the opposition. Due to the fall of those wickets, the run-rate took a huge toll and the new batsmen, in Faf du Plessis and Tim Paine, were able to score only 20 runs in the next 4 overs.

Now, the World XI required 130 to get off the last 10 overs. They needed one or two big overs to bring the run-rate down and fortunately, they found one when du Plessis scored 22 runs off Hasan Ali’s over. Just when it looked like that the partnership between du Plessis and Paine was going well, Shadab Khan provided Pakistan with an important breakthrough by getting du Plessis back in the pavilion. Tim Paine was out in the very next over and once again, World XI lost two set batsmen in quick succession.

The next over from Shadab Khan fetched 14 runs, but more importantly, he picked up another wicket, that of David Miller. Last five overs were left and the World XI needed 74 runs to win. It looked like a very difficult equation, but the batting side still had some decent power-hitters left in the tank, who were capable of changing the equation in a couple of overs.

Ruman Raees was back for his second over and the seamer was treated with utter disdain by Thisara Perera, who smashed him for 3 successive boundaries. 15 runs came off that over and the World XI were still very much in the game. However, some brilliant bowling from Sohail Khan and Hasan Ali – who conceded just 3 runs in the 18th over – once again tilted the equation in favour of Pakistan.

48 runs were required off the last 12 balls and even though Darren Sammy struck some fearsome blows, the World XI fell 20 runs short of the target.

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