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Sports

Web Desk
September 13, 2017
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Cricket euphoria peaks in Pakistan as nation celebrates international revival with victory

Cricket euphoria peaks in Pakistan as nation celebrates international revival with victory

LAHORE: Enthusiasm reached its peak in cricket-starved country on Tuesday when Babar Azam 52-ball 86 carried Pakistan to a comfortable 20-run win over ICC star-studded World XI in the first game of Independence Cup three-match T20 series at the historic Gaddafi stadium in Lahore.

There was a deafening noise when the first ball was bowled in the opener of Independence Cup three-match T20 series between Pakistan and the World XI team at the venue, resembled as Star-studded glaxy with embellished lighting, world’s cricket stars and energetic crowed. It meant a lot for the fans in Pakistan who waited about eight years to witness international cricket in the country as teams have stopped coming after that 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan team bus by gunmen.

The first game opened a new era of reviving international cricket in Pakistan after years of isolation with the huge win over ICC World XI team. The lack of international cricket has been a big loss for Pakistan who has to host their 'home' matches in the UAE.

Now, The Pakistan Cricket Board is confident that the country can provide top-notch security to international teams with the hope that international teams will return to Pakistan after the World XI series.

This series between Pakistan and the Faf du Plessis-led World XI  should work as a confidence booster for any team that is worried about travelling to Pakistan.

Earlier, Faf du Plessis in a presser said that presidential-style security provided to the touring players made them feel like they "were in a movie". He lauded the measures saying that security made them feel like in a film.

Match Summary

Pakistan's start was not very good as Fakhar Zaman was dismissed in the first over, but after him Babar put on a 122-run partnership with Ahmed Shahzad to set Pakistan up for a big finish. Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim then added Pakistan score 48 runs in the last three overs to finish with 197, Pakistan's fourth-highest T20 total.

While, World XI's bowling attack seemed to be week, with only their specialist bowlers - Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir - did their best to hold Pakistan.

However, the opening pair of Hashim Amla and Tamim Iqbal would be the envy of most sides. Hashim Amla was at his elegant best, providing that unique mix: grace and a brisk strike rate. At least one of them needed to bat through, but both fell in the 5th over, and the target began to fade into the distance. Faf du Plessis kept World XI in the hunt, taking 22 off a Hasan Ali over, but in a chase that cried out for a substantial contribution, World XI had only cameos to offer.

Triumphant Skipper

While praising Babar Azam for playing a magnificent innings in his post match comments after Pakistan beat World XI by 20 runs, captain Sarfraz Ahmad said, "Babar played too good and laid a strong start of team's big total which the World XI failed to chase".

He further said, "we played good cricket and will try to keep the consistency up in the coming games to get the desired results." Adding that efforts will be made to overcome the flaws noticed in today’s game.

Sarfraz said that he was pleased to see that young players are rising up to the expectations and urged them to work more hard to lift the level of their game.

He lauded team’s physical fitness saying, “players are striving to improve physical fitness as it was seen in today's match".

In the last, he expressed his gratitude to the crowd for encouraging both the teams for their good performances.

World XI captain

While, World XI captain Faf du Plessis shared his expressions saying that Pak team played better cricket and won the match by building up early partnership, whereas his side could not consolidate the partnerships.

"We will be looking into todays game to come up with better planning and exhibition of cricket skills to produce good result," he said.

 He said his side went all out for the run chase but in the end could not maintain it and fell short of 20 runs.

Man of the Match

First game’s hero, Babar Azam said he started as planned after getting the initial response of the wicket without taking pressure.

"I am glad that I have contributed in my team's success and I am very delighted that Pakistan has beaten World XI which comprises of world’s experienced players," he said.

He thanked to ICC for sending World XI to Pakistan for the resumption of international cricket in the country.

"We as a team always try to give one hundred percent in every match," he added.

He further said that it has always been more excited to play at home than to play abroad or at neutral venues.

Pakistan lead the three-match series 1-0, with two games to go. The second T20I will be played at Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.

SCOREBOARD: 

=========================================

Pakistan

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Fakhar Zaman c Amla b Morkel      8

Ahmed Shehzad c Sammy b Cutting          39

Babar Azam c Miller b Imran 86

Shoaib Malik b Perera          38

*†Sarfraz Ahmed c Paine b Perera  4

Imad Wasim not out  15

Faheem Ashraf not out        0

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Extras (lb 1, w 6)     7

Total (5 wickets; 20 Overs)  197

=========================================

Did not bat: Shadab Khan, Sohail Khan, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees

Bowling: Morkel 4-0-32-1; N Perera 4-0-51-2; Cutting 4-0-38-1; Imran 4-0-34-1; Elliott 2-0-17-0; Sammy 2-0-24-0

Fall: 1-8, 2-130, 3-142, 4-161, 5-182

=========================================

World XI

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tamim Iqbal b Rumman       18

H M Amla c Imad b Rumman          26

†T D Paine c Rumman b Sohail       25

*F du Plessis c sub (U Amin) b Shadab      29

D A Miller st Sarfraz b Shadab        9

G D Elliott c Imad b Sohail    14

N L T C Perera run out        17

D J G Sammy not out          29

B C J Cutting not out 0

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Extras (lb 6, w 4)     10

Total (7 wickets; 20 Overs)  177

=========================================

Did not bat: M Morkel, Imran Tahir

Bowling: Imad 4-0-22-0; Sohail 4-0-28-2; Hasan 4 0-44-0; Rumman 3-0-37-2; Faheem 1-0-7-0; Shadab 4-0-33-2

Fall: 1-43, 2-48, 3-101, 4-108, 5-123, 6-145, 7-173

Result: Pakistan won by 20 runs

Man of the Match: Babar Azam (Pakistan)

Series: Pakistan lead the 3-match series by 1-0

T20I debut: Faheem Ashraf (Pakistan)

Umpires: Ahsan Raza and Aleem Dar (Pakistan). TV Umpires: Shozab Raza (Pakistan). Match Referee: Sir Richie Richardson (Australia)

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