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Pakistan v World XI, 1st T20I – 5 Talking Points

The Pakistani crowds were delighted with the home side registering a 20-run win in the first T20 game of the series.

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

Pakistan celebrated a return of top flight cricket to their nation with a telling win over the World XI. The Gaddafi Stadium was jam packed before the first ball, a historic one, was delivered by South African Morne Morkel as du Plessis won the toss and put the home side in first in Lahore.

The crowd was in the action straight away as the first ball was a boundary, a cheeky one as Fakhar Zaman inside edged and was lucky to not chop it back onto the stumps. The second ball also disappeared for a four, this time off a more convincing shot through the covers off the back foot. Zaman was on course but his innings lasted just three balls as he edged the next one to Amla who was stationed at first slip. The Pakistan innings ebbed and flowed but a late flourish ensured a healthy final score of 197 for 5.

World XI’s innings never really got going, though Amla hit some crisp hits in his slap-happy 17-ball 26. Later on, they had a few cameos in the innings but lacked substance to take the side all the way. In the end, Pakistan won the game by a healthy margin of 20 runs.

We bring you the five talking points during the game:

1) Babar Azam shows the way

It took Babar Azam just 1 game in Pakistan to register his highest score in T20I. Before today’s game, Babar had a meager strike rate of 113.96 but he turned the heat on at the Gaddafi Stadium. He smashed Morkel off the first ball he faced for a boundary which was a sign of things to come. The 22-year old was eventually dismissed for a brilliant 52-ball 86 which included 10 boundaries and two sixes.

2) Malik, Imad provide the much needed impetus

Just when it looked like Pakistan will cruise to 190, they lost both their set batsmen in quick succession. First to go was Ahmed Shehzad, who played his part and provided good support to Babar during his innings of 39. Babar followed suit in the next over and suddenly the hosts had two new batsmen in the middle. After 18 overs, Pakistan were 161 for 4 and 180 looked like a task. Former skipper Malik rose to the occasion and, in company of Imad Wasim, helped his side to collect 36 runs off the last two overs, including 21 off the final one bowled by Thisara Perera. Malik’s 20-ball 38 showed the way towards the end of the innings and Imad’s 4-ball 15 was equally important in the business end of the innings.

3) Rumman Raees pull things back after openers fire

Amla started the assault and Tamim followed suit. Both players batted beautifully to make full use of the fielding restrictions. They were on course to get 50 runs off the first 6 overs before Sarfaraz called Raees to bowl the last over under the fielding restriction. The left-arm fast bowler removed both openers in his first over to peg back the visiting side.

4) Du Plessis, Sammy give hope but left with too many to get

The skipper, who is a fine T20 batsman, came to the fore with an enterprising innings of 29. He had the job of rebuilding the innings after the twin strikes in the 6th over. After shaving sussed the wicket, du Plessis targeted Hasan Ali to take 22 runs from the 12th over. Suddenly the World XI gathered some momentum which was, again, broken as the skipper was walking back to the hut in the next over. With 47 required off 10, Sammy hit three sixes off the next five balls but it was too late in the day for the visitors.

5) Hasan Ali floors his PSL skipper with a toe crushing yorker

Hasan might have played under Sammy in the PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi but he meant business when he ran in to bowl at the former West Indies skipper in the final over. The first ball was hoicked in typical Sammy style over square leg which must have hurt the fast bowler. He bent his back and delivered an in-dipping yorker which floored Sammy, who did well to keep it out. Sammy was clapping for the effort whilst lying on the ground as Hasan lifted him up and gave his skipper a pat on the back. It was a good moment during a high intensity contest.

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