Pakistan vs World XI: Babar Azam's career best 86 sets up hosts' 20-run win in international homecoming

Pakistan's total of 197-5 saw one-drop batsman Babar Azam top-scoring with a 52-ball 86 studded with 10 boundaries and two sixes, adding 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad who made 39.

AFP, Sep, 12 2017

Lahore: Pakistan on Tuesday took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in a match before excited crowds amid tight security.

The Twenty20 match, accorded international status by the International Cricket Council, is only the second time Pakistan has hosted an international match since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff.

Long before the match started at 7:00PM (1400GMT), around 9,000 police officers and paramilitary forces were deployed to the are, cordoning off the team's hotels and stadium.

Pakistani batsman Babar Azam plays a shot during the first Twenty20 international match between the World XI and Pakistan at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore on September 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI

Pakistan batsman Babar Azam plays a shot during the first T20I against the World XI at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore. AFP

But the large security presence did little to temper the enthusiasm of fans in the cricket-mad country.

"I came here early to watch the teams come but that was not possible due to security so I only watched them in the ground and it made my day," said spectator Azfar Ali.

Pakistan, sent into bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197-5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. His career best Twenty20 score had ten boundaries and two sixes.

Azam added 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad (39) as Pakistan built on the loss of opener Fakhar Zaman for eight.

Shoaib Malik smashed a 20-ball 38 with two sixes and four boundaries to give the final touches to the innings.

The World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman Raees dismissed both in the same over to put the brakes on their innings.

Skipper Faf du Plessis hit four boundaries and a six while Darren Sammy smashed three sixes — both scoring 29 — but were unable to see their team through.

For Pakistan, paceman Sohail Khan and leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with two wickets apiece.

The second game is on Wednesday and the third on Friday — both in Lahore.

Pakistan hopes the series will help end their international isolation, with Sri Lanka due to play a Twenty20 in October followed by three Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies in November.

Six Pakistani players — Azam, Ashraf, Zaman, Shadab, Raees and Hasan Ali — played their first international match on the home soil.

Published Date: Sep 12, 2017 | Updated Date: Sep 12, 2017




Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 4969 124
2 South Africa 3767 111
3 England 4497 105
4 New Zealand 3489 100
5 Australia 3294 97
Rank Team Points Rating
1 South Africa 6386 120
2 India 6546 119
3 Australia 5948 114
4 England 6156 114
5 New Zealand 5432 111
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 2843 124
2 New Zealand 1925 120
3 West Indies 2395 120
4 England 2029 119
5 India 2965 119