LAHORE: A hard-hitting 89-run knock by Ahmed Shehzad on Friday guided Pakistan to their 33-run victory over World XI and win the Independence Cup series 2-1, as the nation celebrated the return of international cricket to the country.
Batting first, Pakistan posted 183 runs in their allotted 20 overs losing four wickets. Opener Shehzad struck a brilliant 55-ball innings, hitting eight fours and three sixes. Fakhar Zaman’s 27 off 25 balls helped Shehzad build an opening partnership of 61 runs.
Shehzad then shared a 102-run second-wicket stand with Babar Azam, who hit five fours in his 31-ball 48 runs, while Shoaib Malik scored 17 runs off seven deliveries. Two Pakistani batsmen were run out. For World XI, Thisara Perera took two wickets for 37 runs in his fours overs.
Chasing 184, the visitors soon lost opener Tamim Iqbal with 15 on the scoreboard. The Bangladeshi star was bowled by Usman Khan Shinwari after his 14 runs off 10 balls. World XI lost their second batsman quickly when Hasan Ali struck off the stumps with his surprising delivery, taking the scalp of Australian Ben Cutting (5 runs off 4 balls).
Hashim Amla was next on the very next ball. The South African batsman (21 runs off 12 balls) ran himself out on 41. George Bailey made 3 runs off 12 balls – bamboozled by Imad Wasim’s magic delivery.
At 53-4, the skipper of World XI also couldn’t handle the pressure and lost his wicket while running between the wickets as Shadab Khan’s direct hit sent him off to the pavilion. Rmman Raees’ broke Perera-Miller partnership. Perera was caught by Azam after making 32 runs off 13 balls.
Miller also made 32 off 29, caught again by Azam off Hasan Ali. Morne Morkel made 24 off 23 before being run out. Raees bowled the last over to end match in favour of Pakistan.