Pakistan beat the World XI by 20 runs in an exciting finish to the first Twenty20 match in Lahore on Tuesday, celebrating the return of international cricket to the country amid tight security.
It is only the second time Pakistan has hosted an international match since a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, also in Lahore.
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.
The World XI finished with 177 with Darren Sammy and skipper Faf du Plessis scoring 29 each. For Pakistan Sohail Khan, Shadab Khan and Rumman Raees took two wickets apiece.
On a historic and momentous day for Pakistan cricket, we look at the good and bad performances which stood on.
Babar Azam’s 52-ball 86
The 22-year-old has been hailed by many as one of the future greats of the game and it was clear to see why on Tuesday.
The right-handed batsman combined elegance and ferocity from the first delivery as he sent the ball to all parts of the ground.
Azam made full use of the lack of assistance on offer for the bowlers as his well timed shots put Pakistan in the driving seat. He struck 10 boundaries and two mammoth sixes in his innings of 86 and was on course for a special century before coming undone against Imran Tahir.
He was the main protagonist in the 122-run second wicket partnership with Ahmed Shehzad, where he accounted for 71% of the scoring.
Rumman Raees’ double strike
The 25-year-old medium pacer has played only one ODI and two T20I’s for Pakistan before coming into this game. Such has been the lack of international cricket in the country that Raees was one of the eight Pakistan players making their home-debuts.
With a total of 197 to defend, the right-armed bowler made an instant impact in his very first over and what an over it was.
The World XI opening pair of Tamim Iqbal and Hashim Amla had made a strong start in their response as they scored 40 runs in the first five overs.
On came Raees in the sixth over and he shattered the stumps of a charging Tamim with a straight and accurate delivery. The Karachi-born bowler was not done though as he removed the dangerous looking Amla with a well-disguised back-of-the-hand slower delivery which deceived the South African stalwart.
Within one over, Raees had taken the wind out of the sails for the World XI in their quest to chase 198 runs.
Fakhar Zaman tries to do too much, too soon
Fakhar Zaman has created quite a reputation as a hard-hitter when it comes to limited-overs cricket ever since his introduction in the ICC Champions Trophy earlier this year.
The 27-year-old is a ferocious cutter and puller of the cricket ball and his batting style has quickly made him a fan-favourite.
He started the innings in scratchy style as an inside-edge off the first delivery from Morne Morkel went past wicket-keeper Tim Paine for a boundary. Zaman showed his cutting prowess in the next delivery as he dispatched a wider delivery from Morkel to the boundary.
A similar cut off the third delivery went straight to the fielder at extra-cover but Zaman attempted to cut a much straighter delivery on his fourth ball as he offered a simple catch to Amla at wide-slip.
Thisara Perera is taken to the cleaners
The Sri Lankan all-rounder had an economy rate of 9.05 in 57 previous T20I’s coming into this game and his display on Tuesday showed why he is not a bowler to dry up the runs.
The tall all-rounder was carted to all parts of the ground by the Pakistan batsman, especially Azam, as he returned with figures of 2-51 off his four overs at the end of the innings.
Though he did pick up the wickets of Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed at the death, the damage had already been done as Pakistan accumulated a huge total of 197.
Perera was struck for four sixes and five boundaries as the World XI bowlers found it tough on a flat Lahore pitch.