Pakistan celebrate their victory over World Xi at Lahore    AFP
Pakistan celebrate their victory over World XI at Lahore AFP

Pakistan registered an emphatic victory over World XI in the T20I series opener to mark the return of international cricket on home soil in style. An all-round effort from hosts sealed the fate of the match with World XI falling short by 20 runs. The penultimate tie will be played tomorrow, September 13 on the same ground Gaddafi International Stadium, Lahore.

In pursuit of 198, World XI openers Tamim Iqbal and Hashim Amla got off to a cautious start. Adding 43, the duo perished trying to up the ante. Rumman Raees cleaned up Tamim’s stumps, whereas Amla went trying to chip one between cover and mid-off. Skipper Faf du Plessis and Tim Paine added a vital 53-run stand for the third wicket, but were seen wanting against Shadab Khan’s leg-breaks and Imad Wasim’s tight length.

Shadab Khan, playing his first game on home soil, turned the tide by removing the skipper and getting rid of David Miller. Sohail Khan added to the damage by sending Grant Elliott and Paine back. Thisara Perera and Darren Sammy played their shots till the last over, but the writing was on the wall. Chasing a steep score and facing a collapse in the middle overs brought tourists on the mat.

Earlier, du Plessis opted to bowl. Pakistan lost Fakhar Zaman early. However, Babar Azam scored a brilliant 86, while support came from Ahmed Shahzad. Babar ran hard between wickets; he anticipating lengths; and timed everything. Nonetheless, he missed out on a maiden T20I century when Imran Tahir removed him.

The late impetus was provided by Shoaib Malik and Imad as World XI bowlers remained at bay. They were let down by some sloppy fielding as well. Thisara picked up two scalps but was expensive. Ben Cutting and Tahir got a wicket each, but failed to curb the run rate.

Brief scores:

Pakistan 197 for 5 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 86, Ahmed Shahzad 39, Shoaib Malik 38; Thisara Perera 2 for 51, Ben Cutting 1 for 38) beat World XI 177 for 7 in 20 overs (Hashim Amla 26, Tim Paine 25, Faf du Plessis 29, Darren Sammy 29*; Shadab Khan 2 for 33, Sohail Khan 2 for 28) by 20 runs.