PAK v WXI, 1st T20I Review: Pakistan embark upon a new journey with a thumping win

PAK v WXI, 1st T20I Review: Pakistan embark upon a new journey with a thumping win

No batsman in the World XI side scored more than 30 and that speaks volumes of effective the bowling was from the Pakistani contingent.

Pakistan. (Photo by AAMIR QURESHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The green flags kept flying high in the night sky at Lahore as Pakistan pulled off an emphatic victory against World XI on Tuesday. The occasion was historic and a win for the home side was a perfect icing on the cake. Cricket makes a terrific come back into the land which provided so many legendary cricketers and there was elation all over the ground and the country.

After Pakistan was put to bat first, Fakhar Zaman got off to a blazing start with two boundaries in the first three balls of the match but fell prey to an excellent good length delivery from Morne Morkel. They spent the next few overs to consolidate the innings and Babar Azam then started playing some beautiful shots.

There was very little element of risk in his approach, but the way he amassed runs at such a brisk pace was simply outstanding it was very much reminiscent of Virat Kohli’s approach in a T20 game. Ahmed Shehzad (39 off 34 balls) played the second fiddle outstandingly and the scoreboard just kept running towards a big total.

Babar Azam reached a well deserved half-century in the 10th over and the run rate was well over 9 an over. After adding a whopping 122 runs for the second wicket, Shehzad was dismissed by  Ben Cutting and in the very next over, Imran Tahir got the prized scalp of Babar Azam, who walked back after scoring a spectacular 86 off 52 balls.

Just when the World XI started pulling things back in favor, some sloppy bowling in the death overs allowed Shoaib Malik to take complete control over the innings. He was at his vintage best as Thisara Perera and Cutting took some beating. He piled up a quick fire 38 off 20 balls, before getting cleaned up by Perera in the final over. Pakistan finished at 197 after 20 overs and on any track, this was a defendable total.

Bowlers bang on target!

Imad Wasim as many expected, took charge of the new ball and gave away just 22 runs in his four overs. The World XI top order never really got going and though Hashim Amla did register a few boundaries here and there, it was not sufficent for them to wallop the required run rate. Tamim Iqbal tried to break the shackles but it never really worked out and he got dismissed soon.

Hashim Amla followed his fellow opener in the same over as he too fell prey to a beautifully disguised slower ball from Rumman Raees. World XI completely lost their way post that as the required run rate started creeping over 13 with more than 10 overs still remaining. Tim Paine and Faf du Plessis consumed a lot of time setting the innings up and that cost them big time.

Du Plessis did cover up for his slow start as he started spanking the spinners for a few boundaries. Just when there was some tension building up inside the stadium, the 18-year-old Shadab Khan deceived the skipper and Pakistan were back in control of the game. Tim Paine and David Miller walked back to the gallery in the next two overs and the game was firmly in control of the hosts.

Thisara Perera and Grant Elliot notched a few boundaries in the 16th and 17th over which brought back some life into the game. But that euphoria didn’t last long as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Darren Sammy and Perera were bamboozled with the slower deliveries in the last few overs and that took the required run over 30.

Though Sammy pulled off a few boundaries in the last two overs, they were too little too late and Pakistan completed a 20-run win over a very competent T20 unit. No batsman in the World XI side scored more than 30 and that speaks volumes of effective the bowling was and how poor the batting rendition was from Du Plessis and co. Nevertheless, the big occasion just got better and sweeter with this win and this sets up the series beautifully with two more games in hand.

Brief Scores

Pakistan: 197/5 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 86, Shoaib Malik 38, Ahmed Shehzad 39; Thisara Perera 2/51)

World XI: 177/6 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 29, Darren Sammy 29*; Sohail Khan 2/28, Shadab Khan 2/33)