It was almost another full house at the National Stadium which saw the Pakistan All Star XI trounce the International World XI by six wickets as the brief cricket gala concluded with fireworks.
The visiting team players lauded the organisers, fans and “tight” security arrangements for which they defined their sojourn as memorable.
However, the Sanath Jayasuriya-led team didn’t get leniency from the home side on the ground after Shoaib Malik asked the visitors to bat first.
Malik captained the side, replacing Shahid Afridi who left to perform Hajj on Sunday. Apart from Afridi, five other players – Fawad Alam, Anwar Ali, Wahab Riaz, Sarfraz Ahmed and Nasir Jamshed – also missed the match to join their respective sides for the President Trophy, which commenced on Sunday.
Sohail Khan, Zulqarnain Haider, Asad Shafiq, Faraz Ahmed, Meer Hamza and Faisal Iqbal came as replacements.
Meanwhile, Pakistan All Stars, who registered an 84-run win, dominated the match from the very first ball.
Jayasuriya, the explosive batsman of the past fell in the first over again after he was trapped lbw by fast bowler Sohail Khan without opening his account.
However, former South Africa player Nantie Haywards who played 16 Tests and 21 ODIs, batting 11th struck an unbeaten 16-ball 42, braced with four sixes and three boundaries to lift the visitors from 85 for nine to 142 for nine in 20 overs.
Chasing the target, the home team was spurred by a swashbuckling knock of 53 off 33 by Imran Nazir, and faced no problems as they achieved the target with 20 balls to spare.
Meanwhile, former South Africa pacer Andre Nel gave a thumbs up to the security arrangement made for their short trip.
“I’ve never seen better security arrangements than this,” Nel who played 36 Tests and 79 ODIs told The Express Tribune.
“The organisers made the best arrangements for our tour and we are thankful to them. We enjoyed playing here a lot and hope that international cricket will resume here soon.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2012.