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PAK v WXI, 3rd T20I Review: Pakistan runs through World XI to clinch the series

Opener Ahmed Shehzad top-scored for Pakistan with 89.

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

Shadab Khan’s direct hit in the 10th over to dismiss the World XI skipper Faf du Plessis hinted at an early closure to the visitor’s innings and also an end to a historic series. Chasing 184 under lights, the visitors started off well with Tamim Iqbal punishing all-rounder Imad Wasim, who received the best T20 bowler’s award by the PCB in the award’s night the other day. Tamim stepped down the track to earn his first boundary and slogged the next one for another boundary. He pulled one more, a ball later and made it 12 from the first four balls.

But the entertainment came to an abrupt end when a delivery from debutant Usman Khan stayed relatively low to castle the opener’s stumps. Usman soon got a crash course from Hashim Amla, who timed the pacer beautifully and fetched three boundaries in an over. A straight drive, a flick of the wrist and launching one more, the next ball.

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Mix-ups and run-outs

Pakistan needed a wicket desperately, and they got two in an over. Ben Cutting inside edged one to the stumps and afterwards the big fish Amla went back to the pavilion, courtesy a mix-up with his countryman du Plessis. World XI soon lost one more, making it 53/4, with the required rate jumping up to almost 11.

Ruman Raees took full advantage of the crisis and bowled the first maiden over of the series. Geroge Bailey had no clue of the slower ones, which were mixed up with ones that shaped away. With 103 runs to win from 48 balls, Thisara Perera whacked Shadab Khan’s first three balls for sixes and banged one straight back over the bowlers head to bring down the equation to 79 off 42. Just when it looked like Perera will once again repeat the 2nd T20I heroics, he found Babar at cover, and that turned out to be the final nail in the coffin, as the visitors lost the plot and also the series.

It was the third consecutive time that the home team crossed the 150-run mark, batting first. Familiar faces once again shouldered the responsibility and helped Pakistan post an impressive total. Openers Fakhar Zaman and Ahmed Shehzad put on a 61-run stand for the first wicket. Fakhar scored a 25-ball 27 before Darren Summy got him run-out. Consistent performer Babar Azam ensured that he owns the No. 3 spot, as he contributed for the third successive time to the Pakistan innings. Shehzad and Babar forged a 100-plus stand in less than 10 overs, while the visiting bowlers kept sweating and searching for a wicket.

Shehzad lifts Pakistan in the decider

Babar missed out on his 3rd T20I fifty by just 2 runs but Shehzad made sure he crosses the milestone, after coming close in the last game. The opener brought up his first fifty of the series and seventh overall. He wasn’t content, and kept grinding out in the middle. Shehzad scored three maximums and eight fours in his 55-ball 89 knock. He got out in the 18th over, but by then the hosts got into a comfortable position. Only Perera managed to mark the wicket’s column. The all-rounder bowled four overs for 2/37.

Pakistan: 183/4 in 20 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 89, Babar Azam 48; Thisara Perera 2/37)

World XI: 150/8 in 20 overs (Thisara Perera 32, David Miller 32; Hasan Ali 2/28)

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