Pak­istan’s bowlers pun­ish World XI

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - ZAAHIER ADAMS

In­de­pen­dence Cup, 3rd T20I Pak­istan: 183/4 World XI: 150/8 Pak­istan win by 33 runs, win se­ries 2-1 JUST like in the re­cent Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, Pak­istan’s young seam bowlers proved too hot to han­dle with the hosts chok­ing the World XI bats­men to claim the In­de­pen­dence Cup.

The re­turn of the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy Man of the Tour­na­ment Hasan Ali for the se­ries-de­cider cer­tainly proved the dif­fer­ence between the two teams. With­out Ali in the Pak­istan line-up on Wed­nes­day, the World XI had man­aged to score over 13.5 runs to the over at the death to get home off the sec­ond last ball of the match.

But with the 23-year-old ri­fling in his york­ers al­most at will and also flum­mox­ing the World XI bats­men with his sub­tle changes of pace, there would be no re­peat. Fel­low 23- year- old Us­man Khan ( 1/ 26) was equally im­pres­sive along with Rum­man Raees (1/20) as Pak­istan never al­lowed their famed vis­i­tors to re­cover from 53/4.

Poor run­ning between the wick­ets did not help the World XI’s chase ei­ther with Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis both fall­ing short of their crease.

“Pak­istan’s bowl­ing was re­ally strong. It has a lot more en­ergy. And as you saw, their field­ing is elec­tric. That’s a big change for Pak­istan. It is not the Pak­istan team of old, where you feel you can beat them in the field,” World XI skip­per Faf du Plessis said.

“And then skills wise … york­ers … slower balls … they are all there.”

This bat­ting cer­tainly was, with the hosts post­ing a solid 183/4, cour­tesy of dy­namic con­tri­bu­tions from Ahmed She­hzad (89 off 55 balls, 8x4, 3x6) and Man of the Se­ries Babar Azam (48 off 31 balls, 5x4).

The Gaddafi Sta­dium crowd cer­tainly en­joyed She­hzad be­com­ing the first Pak­istani bats­man to smash three con­sec­u­tive sixes in a T20 in­nings, but they showed equal ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the World XI through­out the se­ries, prompt­ing the idea that a global team could be a con­cept that has merit go­ing for­ward.

“It has been great. Whether you’re play­ing cricket or not, it is easy to share a dress­in­groom with these guys be­cause they’re nice to be around. It makes a week or 10 days like this very en­joy­able,” Du Plessis said. “We were jok­ing as a team that this should hap­pen at least once a year. Maybe like the Glo­be­trot­ters, tour the world. It was a fan­tas­tic to be here.”

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