Thisara Perera and Hashim Amla added 69-run stand between them © AFP
Thisara Perera and Hashim Amla added 69-run stand between them © AFP

ICC World XI beat Pakistan by 7 wickets in the second T20I of Independence Cup, levelling the three-match series 1-1. After winning toss, Pakistan posted a competitive 174 for 6, thanks to Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad’s ominous forms. In reply, World XI stuttered at one stage, but Thisara Perera and Hashim Amla resurrected their team and emerged victorious. Let us walk through the top highlights of this cracker of a contest.

Ahmed Shehzad scores an attractive 43: Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman for 21 off 13. The left-hander thus far had scored most runs with his aggressive brand of cricket. Meanwhile, Shehzad dealt in timing the ball and through the gaps. Given the track was a featherbed for the batsmen, Shehzad did not have any difficulty applying his strokeplay — the best were the ones punched down the ground.

The talented Babar Azam: He averages over 50 in ODIs as well T20Is. Armed with solid technique, he can blaze away in any given format. However, his high elbow allows him to clear the infield with ease — an added advantage in the shortest format.

It seemed he continued where he had left from. He followed his resolute 86 in the opening contest with a stylish 45.

Shoaib Malik, the warhorse: The experienced Malik has seen it all. Be it any situation, he knows how to architect a win. Although his team was on the wrong side of luck, his 39 off 23 was one the top highlights of the match. When World XI staged comeback by taking wickets at regular intervals, Malik smartly rotated strike as well picked timely boundaries to disrupt opposition’s momentum.

Samuel Badree does something new: Badree, for the first time in his T20I career, did not open the bowling. In all, he had played 40 T20Is before this. Be that as it may. He anyway ended as contest’s best bowler.

The ever-smiling George Bailey: Bailey used his free time to full effect. The benched player distributed caps to the crowd, with that smile on his face. He then had some good time commentating on the match, with that smile on his face.

The graceful Hashim Amla: The South African laced an unbeaten 72 off 35. Using his magnificent temperament, the mighty Hash stayed till the end, ensuring his team stays alive in the series.

Every time Amla smacked a ball, it dissected the gaps, especially in the powerplay. Be it playing on the up or flicking down the ground, Amla was at his graceful best.

Thisara Perera smashes Pakistan to pulp: World XI needed 69 off 36 when Perera was promoted at No. 5. All he had to do was fiercely swing his bat and dispatch the ball into the stands. That, however, was not easy. Despite leaking runs by the bucketful in the powerplay, Pakistan clawed back in the middle overs, and they knew exactly where to ball Perera. That being said, no team could have contained Perera’s aggression. Bowl low full-toss and walloped it down tow. Bowl length and he peppered the mid-wicket boundary. In other words, Perera reduced Pakistan to nothingness.