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Thursday Sep 21 2017

Cricket for peace: Afridi shines as Pakistan XI beat UK XI by 133 runs


A stellar batting display by buoyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi led Pakistan XI to a 133-run victory over UK Media XI in Miranshah, North Waziristan Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Pakistan XI posted a mammoth total of 253 off 20 overs against UK Media XI, propelled by a rapid 70 by Afridi. UK Media XI could only manage 120-7 in response. 

UK Media XI earlier won the toss and opted to field at the picturesque Younis Khan Stadium in Miranshah, in a match which is part of a series titled Peace Cup, organised by the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Cricket Board and PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi.

Afridi's batting met with a roar of applause from the local crowd, who gathered in thousands to watch their favourite stars in action, including Inzamam ul Haq, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Junaid Khan, Umer Gul and Mushtaq Ahmed.

The batting heroics of 'Boom Boom' Afridi earned him Man of the Match award, while Umar Amin was awarded Best Batsman of the Match for his superb inning. 

The UK team is part of an 18-member group of journalists, lawyers, businessmen and academics aged between 21-62, which is touring Pakistan with the aim to improve the country's image as a sporting nation.

'Message is clear: Pakistan is friendly, welcoming'

British journalist Peter Oborne, UK Media XI skipper renowned for authoring 'Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan', paid tribute to the 'peace-loving' people of Pakistan and hailed the country for welcoming him and his team.

"The message [of this match] is clear: Pakistan is a friendly, welcoming country. More cricket teams should come here. All teams, even university teams, teams like ours, they should come here to play cricket," Oborne said during the post-match ceremony.

"It's not just the cricket here.. it's the people. It's been an honour to play here in front of the local crowd," he said, as he praised the security situation and noted that there has been "real progress" across the entire country in this regard.

"Pakistan team is the most exciting cricket team in the world!" he laughed, adding that he felt honoured to have played alongside cricket greats like Inzamam and Mushtaq today.

Scenes from the venue 

Peshawar Zalmi chairman Javed Afridi shared scenes from the venue earlier today.

“Welcome to the Peace Land,” he said in a tweet.

“Say No Terrorism,” he tweeted.

'Will prove via Peace Cup that Pakistan is peaceful' 

Director General of ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor, who was in attendance at the stadium, said the match will prove to the world that Pakistan is a peaceful country.

"We will prove to the world, through the Peace Cup, that Pakistan is a peaceful country," he said.

The DG ISPR noted that life is back to normal in FATA, and vowed that terrorism will never be allowed to regain stronghold in the region again.

Corps Commander Peshawar Nazir Ahmed Butt was also present at the stadium, along with other dignitaries. Governor Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra was the chief guest at the occasion.

The DG ISPR had announced the match via Twitter on Wednesday.

“Cricket in NWA. Pak XI plays UK Media XI on 21 Sep 17. Live telecast from Miranshah. Peace & prosperity is our destiny,” the DG ISPR had tweeted.

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