PCB chief Najam Sethi confirms West Indies visit to the country for a three-match T20I series in November

Ashish Peter 13/09/2017
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PCB Chairman Najam Sethi was speaking to a local news channel.

The return of international cricket to the country got another boost on Wednesday when Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi confirmed the visit of West Indies later this November for a three-match T20I series.

This announcement comes against the backdrop of the ongoing T20I series between Pakistan and the ICC World XI, which got underway in Lahore on Tuesday.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) had last month tentatively announced a short tour to Pakistan in November but nothing had been confirmed officially.

Speaking to a local television channel, the PCB chief said that the itinerary for the visit of the Caribbean team will be announced shortly.

“The agreement with the West Indies Cricket Board has been finalised and done and they have confirmed they will come to Lahore in November to play three T20 Internationals,” Sethi said.

A few weeks earlier the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had also announced their intention of playing one of the three scheduled T20Is between the two countries, starting later this month in Lahore instead of the UAE.

Sethi has now confirmed that Sri Lanka will be visiting Lahore to play that particular T20I on October 29 – subject to security measures.

“I am still trying to convince Sri Lanka to play at least two matches in the coming series in Lahore,” he said.

The first T20I took place under massive security presence.

The first T20I between Pakistan and the World XI took place under massive security presence.

The historic visit of the World XI led by Faf du Plessis is the ICC’s latest attempt to aid in the resumption of international teams touring the nation which has faced the brunt of terrorism.

In 2009, a terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore had put a full stop to international cricket in Pakistan with the cricket team playing their home matches in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the UAE since then.

The first of the T20I clashes took place on Tuesday at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore under heavy-security presence with the hosts edging out the star-laden World XI by 20 runs.

A successful visit of the World XI could open the door for other teams visiting Pakistan in the near future.

It seems the tide is already turning for the Pakistan fans who have been starved of watching international cricket stars in action in their own backyards for eight years.

The good times could be set to return for the Pakistan fans.

The good times could be set to return for the Pakistan fans.

Sethi is also trying to convince Cricket South Africa (CSA) to visit the country for a short bilateral series sometime next year given that five members of the Proteas squad are a part of the World XI.

The first T20I between the hosts and the World XI saw a near sell-out crowd at the Gaddafi stadium as Pakistan cricket fans welcomed the return of proper international cricket after a long and tedious wait.

The PCB chief also confirmed that the ICC World XI would be touring the country again in 2018 and 2019 – making it an annual affair.

For now all eyes of the cricketing world will be on the remaining matches in the Independence Cup and Sethi will be hoping that Pakistan can put on a great show as the hosts.

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Two bad, two good as Pakistan beat the World XI in first T20I at Lahore

Ashish Peter 12/09/2017
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Rumman Raees picked up two wickets in Pakistan's win.

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.

THE GOOD

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.

Babar Azam displayed impeccable timing in his innings of 86.

Babar Azam displayed impeccable timing in his innings of 86.

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.

Raees celebrates after dismissing Tamim Iqbal.

Raees celebrates after dismissing Tamim Iqbal.

THE BAD

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.

Zaman couldn't hide his frustration after giving away his wicket to Morkel.

Zaman couldn’t hide his frustration after giving away his wicket to Morkel.

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.

Perera was taken to the cleaners by the Pakistan batsmen.

Perera was taken to the cleaners by the Pakistan batsmen.

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World XI cricketers arrive at the Gaddafi Stadium in style for first T20I against Pakistan

Sport360 staff 12/09/2017
The ICC World XI arrive in their 'tuk-tuks'.

The ICC World XI got a rousing reception from a sell-out crowd at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore as they arrived for the first of the historic three-match T20I series against Pakistan.

The much awaited event signals the return of international cricket to Pakistan in a significant way after years of isolation.

There was a celebratory atmosphere in the stadium as fans queued up hours in advance to secure tickets as the Independence Cup got underway under massive security-surveillance.

The 14-man World XI squad led by Faf du Plessis could be seen soaking in the atmosphere as they entered the stadium. The South African hailed the return of cricket to the South Asian nation. "It's not about ourselves, great to see we can play a small part in bringing cricket back to Pakistan. There are no egos involved," said du Plessis. The second and third matches are also in Lahore on Wednesday and Thursday.

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