LAHORE: The World XI was looking to settle the score against Pakistan after losing the opening match of the three-match T20 Independence Cup and they did it in style by coming from behind to take the second match with seven wickets and one ball to spare.
Hashim Amla and Thisara Perera maintained the flow of runs and their wickets in tact to undo mid-match efforts of Pakistan bowlers to get 175 runs for three in 19.5 overs. Their fourth wicket unbeaten partnership 69 runs was the match winning and the series levelling. As Amla played an innings development, Perera turned the match World XI way by five mighty sixes in his unbeaten 47 off 19 balls. Hashim on his part stayed put on the crease till the end to score 72 not out in 55 balls.
With the threat of thunderstorm looming, the sides kept their noses poked deep in the game, providing entertainment to the near capacity-full Gaddafi Stadium with big hits across and over the ropes. In all both the sides smacked 39 boundaries inclusive of 14 sixes as Pakistan generated 174 for six wickets’ loss and World XI replied with 175 for three. The slog that started by Fakhar Zaman and Ahmed Shehzad from Pakistan was maintained by Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik with useful contribution coming from Imad Wasim. As from the guests on the day, their openers were on fire and later Perera. Tamim Iqbal and Hashim Amla found easy boundaries and to Perera Pakistan had no answers, which was at one point looking for a series win.
Pakistan attack received the same treatment from World XI bowlers had in the initial overs. But Imad Wasim and Sohail Khan applied breaks on World XI score for being the most economical. Tamim and Hashim generated 47 runs for the first wicket. At 23, Tamim fall to Sohail Khan, but Hashim kept punishing Pakistan bowlers. He got his fifty in 37 balls but in his hunger for runs, he watched Tim Paine (10) and Plessis (20, 2x6) getting bowled out by Imad and Mohammad Nawaz respectively.
Hashim joined in by Perera frustrated Pakistan attack with frequent boundaries. From 106 for three, the two slapped Pakistan with big boundaries. Particularly the latter who was dropped at 28 by Shoaib Malik at long on hit five boundaries to win the match for the World XI and maintained the interest of the series till the third game.
Earlier, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, and its openers Fakhar Zaman and Ahmed Shehzad entertained the crowd with back to back boundaries. Their big hitting was not only enjoyed by the fans alike but it also provided solid start to Pakistan. They only separated by Badree when he found Fakhar standing before wicket for 21 in the fifth over. From 41 for one, Shehzad and Babar Azam continued the slog scoring 43 and 45 respectively with 10 fours, half of each to either credit and a six from the opener.
In the 13th over, Shehzad lost his fight with World XI bowlers to Imran Tahir and three overs later Babar to Badree. But from where they left, Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim continued. Malik with three sixes and a four raced to 23-ball 39 and Imad had 15 in 11 balls. Malik who played the final ball of the innings to be out by Ben Cutting on Collingwood’s catch, saw Imad and then his captain Sarfraz march back to the pavilion thanks to Perera. Sohail Khan was the not out bat in the end.
Badree and Perera shared two wickets each and Tahir and Cutting had one apiece. The final match of the series will be played on Friday at the same venue.
Earlier, Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf were replaced by Pakistan with Usman Khan Shinwari and Mohamamd Nawaz while World XI brought in Samual Badree and Paul Collingwood in place of Grant Elliott and Darren Sammy.