Pak­istan win se­ries with the World on their side

Tour is a suc­cess

Sport360 - - Front Page - By Shahid Hashmi @hash­mi_shahid ed­i­to­

Pak­istan cel­e­brated the re­turn of in­ter­na­tional cricket with a thump­ing 33-run win to clinch the fi­nal Twenty20 match and the se­ries against a World XI team at La­hore’s Gaddafi Sta­dium last night.

The host­ing of the short se­ries is a ma­jor step to­wards con­vinc­ing in­ter­na­tional teams to be­gin tour­ing Pak­istan again, with Sri Lanka due to play a Twenty20 match in La­hore on Oc­to­ber 29.

For­eign teams have re­fused to tour Pak­istan since a mil­i­tant at­tack on the Sri Lankan team bus in La­hore in March 2009.

Un­der Sar­fraz Ahmed, Pak­istan team out­played the World XI in the de­cider to win the se­ries 2-1.

Pak­istan had won the first match by 20 runs on Tues­day be­fore World XI lev­elled the se­ries with a seven-wicket vic­tory in the sec­ond on Wed­nes­day.

World XI cap­tain Faf du Plessis hailed the se­ries as a big step and a suc­cess.

“This has been a huge suc­cess,” said du Plessis. “We wanted to come here and play a small part in cricket com­ing back to Pak­istan. Thank everyone for the op­por­tu­nity for com­ing here.

“We were jok­ing about it, the blokes were say­ing we should do this ev­ery year. For a lot of guys who don’t play a lot of in­ter­na­tional cricket th­ese days, this was ter­rific com­pe­ti­tion against a strong Pak­istan side.”

Bat­ting for World XI, only Sri Lankan This­ara Per­era, with a 13ball 32 in­clud­ing three sixes and two fours, and South Africa’s David Miller, who hit a 29-ball 32, made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions.

Oth­ers never got go­ing in a shaky chase which saw three World XI bats­men run out. Pak­istan pacer Hasan Ali fin­ished as the best bowler with fig­ures of 2-28.

Earlier, Pak­istan made 183-4 after they were sent into bat by World XI skip­per du Plessis.

Pak­istan’s in­nings was built around opener Ahmed She­hzad’s 55-ball 89 and a 31-ball 48 by Babar Azam. The two added 102 runs for the sec­ond wicket after Pak­istan lost Fakhar Za­man for 27.

She­hzad fell 11 short of his sec­ond Twenty20 hun­dred as he at­tempted a sin­gle off a wide ball. He cracked eight bound­aries and three sixes.

His and Pak­istan’s only hun­dred in a Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional had come against Bangladesh dur­ing the World Twenty20 tour­na­ment in 2014.

All-rounder Shoaib Malik hit two sixes in his seven-ball 17 not out as Pak­istan added 58 in the fi­nal five overs to reach 183.

All-rounder Per­era was the pick of World XI’s bowlers with 2-37 in his four overs.

Dur­ing the in­nings break the Pak­istan Cricket Board ar­ranged a lap of hon­our for re­tired greats Shahid Afridi and Mis­bah-ul-Haq. The two were given a stand­ing ova­tion by a packed 25,000 crowd.

The se­ries was ar­ranged as part of Pak­istan’s ef­forts to bring back in­ter­na­tional cricket to the coun­try, which has only hosted Zim­babwe for a lim­ited-over se­ries in 2015.

Pak­istan hopes the suc­cess­ful stag­ing of this se­ries will help them host Sri Lanka for a Twenty20 in­ter­na­tional on Oc­to­ber 29, at the end of their full se­ries in the United Arab Emi­rates. A month later they are also likely to host the West Indies for three Twenty20 matches. Also, more ‘World XI’ se­ries are planned for the next two years.

Mis­sion ac­com­plished: Pak­istan won the T20 se­ries that has given a mas­sive boost to in­ter­na­tional cricket re­turn­ing on a reg­u­lar ba­sis to the coun­try.

Next up: Pak­istan fans thanked the ICC and hoped for more from In­dia.

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