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Wednesday Sep 13 2017
Web Desk

World XI stun Pakistan by 7 wickets to level series

Web Desk

LAHORE: Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera hit a towering six off the penultimate ball to steer the World XI to a thrilling seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the second T20 on Wednesday.

Man of the Match Perera made a whirlwind 19-ball 47 not out with five sixes, while Hashim Amla finished not out 72 off 55 balls to help the World XI overhaul a 175-run target and level the three-match series 1-1 before a packed Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

That left the series intriguingly placed with the final match on Friday, also in Lahore.

Pakistan had registered a 20-run win in Tuesday´s first match, which marked the return of international cricket to Pakistan.

Left-hander Perera went on a rampage as the visitors needed 33 off the last two overs, smashing two sixes off the 19th over bowled by Sohail Khan before sealing the match in the last over.

Amla, who scored his seventh international T20 half-century, was the steadier of the two, with two sixes and five fours as he helped Perera add 69 runs for the fourth wicket off just 35 balls.

That partnership lifted the World XI after they lost Tamim Iqbal (23), Tim Paine (10) and skipper Faf du Plessis (20).

Luck supported Imad Wasim as one of his delivery's went a bit too low for Tim Paine to play. The middle-order batsman left the crease on a score of 10 off 12. 

Skipper Faf Du Plessis (20) lost his wicket after playing a loose shot on a delivery bowled by Mohammad Nawaz. His catch was taken by Shadab Khan.

"It was a very happy day," said Perera. "Hash (Amla) told me to stay till the last moment because we can catch up. I listened to him and we did really well.

"It´s a habit for me to be in the situation like this. This is a dream come true for me playing in this World XI. Thanks to Pakistan´s fans for coming out in good numbers."

The Sri Lankan all-rounder was given a second life by Shoaib Malik, who dropped his catch at a crucial juncture of the game. 

Earlier Pakistan gave a challenging target of 175 runs to World XI courtesy of brilliant batting by Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik. 

Middle order batsman Babar Azam scored 43 off 34 balls, with the help of five boundaries. 

Malik, coming in at the second half of Pakistan innings, played a fiery 39 off 23. The senior batsman smashed three sixes and one four to become the top run scorer in T20Is for Pakistan.

Pakistan suffered its first loss after a failed attempt to hit Samuel Badree cost Fakhar Zaman his wicket in the fifth over of the inning. 

The opening batsman scored 21 off 13 balls.

Next to be dismissed was Ahmed Shehzad, after falling prey to a delivery of Imran Tahir. Shehzad in his 43 runs inning, smashed five fours and a six. 

World XI took the much-needed wicket of Babar Azam when Pakistan was on 135.  David Miller took his catch off a Badree delivery. 

Imad Wasim got a second chance when the umpires declared the full toss from Perera on which he was caught near the boundary as a 'no ball', however, he was caught again in the same over after giving an easy catch to Imran Tahir while attempting to play an unconventional stroke.

Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was bowled for a golden duck on the very next delivery by the Sri Lankan bowler.

On the last ball of the inning, Malik lost his wicket to Ben Cutting. Malik was earlier dropped by David Miller.

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed gave credit to the visitors.

"World XI deserves the credit," said Sarfraz. "Amla and Perera kept it till late and did it. Our bowlers are young and this is an occasion for them to learn how to bowl in such situations.

"We were also a little sloppy in the field. The score was good enough but if the execution was better in defending, we would have pulled it off." 

First T20

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.

The Green Shirts, sent in to bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197-5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. His career best Twenty20 score had 10 boundaries and two sixes.

Azam added 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad (39) as Pakistan built on the loss of opener Fakhar Zaman for eight.

Shoaib Malik smashed a 20-ball 38 with two sixes and four boundaries to give the final touches to the innings.

The World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman Raees dismissed both in the same over to put the brakes on their innings.

Skipper Faf du Plessis hit four boundaries and a six while Darren Sammy smashed three sixes -- both scoring 29 -- but were unable to see their team through.

For Pakistan, paceman Sohail Khan and leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with two wickets apiece.

Tuesday marked the first time that five of Pakistan players -- Ashraf, Zaman, Shadab, Raees and Hasan Ali -- played an international match on home soil.


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