Amla, Perera help World XI level the series

By Krunal, MyCricketHighlights Cricket Writer

2nd T20I: Pakistan vs World XI at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, Sep 13 - 2017, Cricket highlights

It was an absolutely thrilling contest in the second T20I between Pakistan and World XI, which the latter won by 7 wickets. Well, the margin of victory might be a little misleading as one might think that World XI might have easily won the match, but it wasn’t the case. The match went all the way down to the wire, where it was because of some mighty hitting from Thisara Perera that helped World XI to chase down the target on the penultimate ball of the match.

In the last match, World XI made 177 in response to Pakistan’s 197 and this time around, they were asked to chase down 175. They were once again off to a flying start, thanks to Hashim Amla and Tamim Iqbal, who added 44 runs in the first five overs. While Tamim was muscling the ball to the fence, it was all about timing and placement for Amla. It's just a treat to watch Amla play those gorgeous cover and straight drives.

Pakistan needed a breakthrough at this stage and it was provided by Sohail Khan, who got rid of the dangerous Tamim Iqbal. Tim Paine couldn’t trouble the scorers much as he was clean bowled by a delivery from Imad Wasim that stayed very low.

The South African duo of Amla and du Plessis were then involved in a nice, little partnership of 35 runs, which helped World XI to get the innings back on track. However, they were still behind the required run-rate, which had now crept over 11 RPO. On the fall of du Plessis’s wicket, Thisara Perera was promoted up the order to bring the required rate down. But he did more than just bringing the rate down.

63 runs were required off the last 5 overs and even though 22 runs came off the next 2, the pressure was still on the batting side. Ruman Raees then bowled an excellent 18th over as he conceded just 8 runs off it. This made the equation even more difficult, as now the World XI required 33 to get off 12 balls.

Everyone thought that Pakistan had the match in their pockets and most of the spectators even started to leave the ground assuming that their team has won the match. But little did they know that Perera was going to steal the match out of Pakistan’s grasp.

It was in the penultimate over that Perera unleashed his power-hitting skills and smashed Sohail Khan for a couple of huge hits. 20 runs came off that over and this brought the equation down to 13 off the last over. Luck was also on Perera’s side as he was dropped by Shoaib Malik in the very same over. That dropped proved to be very costly for Pakistan as the Sri Lankan guided World XI to victory by finishing off the match in style. 6 runs were needed off last 2 balls and Perera smashed a straight six down the ground, on the second last ball, to secure a win for his team.

No doubt it was a match-winning knock (47* off 19 balls) from Perera, but one cannot forget the contributions of Amla (72*), who held the innings together and batted right till the very end.

Earlier in the day, it was once again because of the contributions from the trio – Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik – that Pakistan were able to post a competitive total of 174 on the board.

From World XI’s point of view, it was a much better bowling performance from yesterday, where their bowlers erred in line and lengths and gave too many boundary scoring deliveries. Thisara Perera, who was a star with the bat, showed significant improvement with the ball too as he gave away just 23 runs in his 3 overs and also picked up 2 key wickets, that of Imad Wasim and Sarfraz Ahmed, in the penultimate over.

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