World XI victorious in ‘nail-biter’ versus Pakistan

  • With just one ball remaining, the visiting World-XI beat Pakistan by seven wickets

Gaddafi stadium rose to its feet as the Pakistan team and the World XI side walked on to the pitch. The stadium was lit once again and the citizens, who could not watch the match live, were glued to their screens once more to witness the second T20 match of the Independence Cup.

Pakistan on Tuesday took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in a match before excited crowds amid tight security.

For the second T20I, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first against World XI. Speaking at after the toss, skipper Sarfraz Ahmed said that fast bowler Hasan Ali will not be playing the game today due to a back injury. Usman Khan Shinwari will be playing in his spot.

Muhammad Nawaz has also made his entry in the team. Faheem Ashraf has been given rest. The Faf du Plessis-led side looks to bounce back after facing a 20-run defeat in the series opener last night.

The World XI had to wait till the fifth over to get their first wicket as an attempt to hit Samuel Badree cost Fakhar Zaman his wicket. The Pakistani batsman scored 21 runs.

Babar Azam came on to the pitch to replace Zaman and built up a good partnership with Ahmed Shehzad before the latter fell to Imran Tahir after scoring 43. At this point, Pakistan had scored a ton and had lost 2 wickets.

Pakistan lost their third wicket in the 17th over as Babar Azam hit a shot with no timing at all and the ball went straight to Miller. Azam scored 45 on 38 balls and headed back to the pavilion, leaving Pakistan at 135 for the loss of three wickets.

It was in the 19th over that World XI struck again, Perera took Imad Wasim’s wicket after the Pakistani man had scored 15 runs. This innings looked more like a catching practice at training for the World XI as soon after Sarfraz Ahmed fell in the same over after failing to score.

Shoaib Malik did play a decent knock, but was caught out by Collingwood after scoring 39 runs. With 174 on the board, Pakistan walked out determined to clinch the series.

The World XI started off well, with both Amla and Tamim Iqbal at the pitch. But, Shoaib Malik had the final say against Tamim as the veteran caught Tamim’s shot on a Sohail Khan ball. Tamim fell after scoring 23 runs and at this point, the World XI had 47 runs on the board with almost 15 overs to go.

Paine walked on to the pitch to replace Tamim but he could not stay for long. Imad Wasim brilliantly bowled out the World XI batsman after he had faced just 12 balls. After Paine’s wicket, Hashim Amla was joined by World XI captain and South African teammate Fuf du Plessis.

Fuf du Plessis fell to a Mohammad Nawaz ball and left Hashim Amla on the pitch after scoring 20 runs. Amla completed his half century on 37 balls. World XI required 69 runs from 36 balls and Perera walked on to the pitch, hoping to finish the job alongside Amla.

With three overs remaining, the World XI required 41 runs from 18 balls having only lost 3 wickets. The World XI were in a better situation than they were in the previous T20, needing 33 runs to win from 12 balls.

Shoaib Malik dropped a simple catch and he may have dropped Pakistan’s chances of winning with it as the Pakistani all-rounder gave Perera a lifeline.

Rumman Raees stepped up to bowl the last over as the visitors required just 13 runs to win from 6 balls. With just 6 required from 2 balls, the match was proving to be a real cliff-hanger. That was until Perera smashed the second last ball of the match straight over the bowler.

With the series now tied 1-1, the final match of the series would decide which team emerges victorious, though regardless of which team wins, Pakistani cricket fans know that they achieved the revival of international cricket in the country, something that would prove to be bigger than the series win.