LAHORE: A brilliant unbeaten half-century by South Africa’s Hashim Amla helped the World XI win the thriller that was the second T20 by seven wickets and level the series at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday and let the last T20 international be the series decider.
Chasing 175, the World XI reached the target off the penultimate delivery of the match, as Amla struck an unbeaten 72 runs off 55 balls, hitting five fours and two sixes along the way.
The World XI opened their chase strongly, with a 47-run opening partnership between Bangladesh’s Tamim Iqbal and Amla. The partnership broke when Iqbal hit a Sohail Khan delivery towards Shoaib Malik and was caught out for 23.
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Imad Wasim soon got rid of the next man, Tim Paine, for 10. World XI Captain Faf du Plessis then came in and addressed the threat of a slump, adding 35 runs with fellow South African Amla at the other end. He scored 20 runs off 14 deliveries, hitting two sixes before being caught by Shadab Khan off Muhammad Nawaz.
Then came Sri Lankan Thisara Perera, whose whirlwind 19-ball 36 studded with five sixes, including the match-winner.
Earlier, batting first, Pakistan posted a total of 174 runs in their allotted 20 overs, losing six wickets. Babar Azam, the man who helped win the first match, scored another solid 45 runs off 38 balls, hitting five fours. Shehzad who scored 43 runs off 34 balls with the help of five fours and a six while all-rounder Shoaib Malik cracked a 23-ball 39, hitting one four and three sixes.
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West Indian Samuel Badree and Perera took two wickets each, giving away 31 and 23 runs respectively, while South African Imran Tahir and Australian Ben Cutting took one each for 29 and 52 runs respectively.
Later, Man of the Match Perera said, “Amla told me today until the end that we will be able to win… it feels great to make your team win like this with a six.” He added, “We are hoping to see a good last match on Friday.”
He said the atmosphere in Lahore had been amazing and “all the foreign players are enjoying being here”.
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Meanwhile, the home team admitted its mistakes. “The score was good and we were in a good situation in the beginning, but then we gave away many runs. Amla and Perera played brilliantly, which got them the win,” said Sarfraz.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said, “We need to sort out what happens to us when we come under pressure. We were doing well in the first two power plays, but then in the third, we gave up a lot of space to the batsmen and they scored.”
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