Young Babar Azam once again showed his class and bowlers lived up to the expectation as Pakistan beat World XI by 20 runs in the first match of the Independence Cup at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore on Tuesday.
The series, which was looked as a stepping stone in reviving international cricket in the country, started at 7pm local time.Looking at the humid conditions, World XI captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to field first.
His decision paid dividend in the first over when pacer Morne Morkel sent opener Fakhar Zaman back the pavilion at the score of eight.However, then it was all Babar’s show, who scored a breathtaking 86 off just 52 balls with the help of 10 boundaries and two sixes to guide Pakistan to 197 for the loss of five wicket.
Veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik also made a valuable contribution at the later stages of the innings, as he struck a rapid fire 38 off just 20 balls, which included four fours and two maximums.For the visitors Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera was the most expensive bowler but did managed to claim two wickets, whereas pacers Morkel, Ben Cutting and leg-spinner Imran Tahir picked one wicket each.
In response, World XI had a good start to their innings, but kept losing wickets at regular intervals and only managed to score 177-7 in their allotted 20 overs. Du Plessis finished the innings with the top of 29 off 18 balls, 22 of which came in one over of pacer Hasan Ali.For Pakistan, pacers Sohail Khan, Rumman Raees and leg-spinner Shadab Khan claimed two wickets each.
For his outstanding batting performance, Babar was awarded man of the match.The second game of three-match series will be played on Wednesday at the same venue