Pakistan took on the ICC World XI in the second of three T20I’s at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore on Wednesday.
The hosts had beaten the star-laden visitors by 20 runs in the first game on Tuesday riding off the back of Babar Azam’s knock of 86.
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and chose to bat first. His decision turned out to be a good one as his batsmen posted a daunting total of 174-5 in their allotted 20 overs.
In reply, the Faf du Plessis-led World XI managed to get over the finish line with a seven-wicket victory in a tense finish after Thisara Perera played one of the most entertaining T20I knocks.
On another massive day for Pakistan cricket, we take a look at two good and two bad performances of the match.
PERERA TAKES THE LONG-HANDLE ROUTE
The tall Sri Lankan all-rounder had on off-day in the first T20I as he was carted for 51 runs off his four overs. He more than made up for it on Wednesday though as he made full use of the brute force he is known for.
Coming in to bat at the death, Perera arrived to the crease with the World XI floundering and losing its way in the middle of the innings.
Hashim Amla was tiring after his marathon knock but Perera turned the match on its head with a ferocious, unbeaten 47 off just 19 deliveries which included just one dot-ball.
With 33 runs required off the final two overs, Amla let Perera have the majority of the strike and the Sri Lankan did not disappoint as he hit five towering sixes, including the winning one off the penultimate delivery of the innings.
Such was the impact of the all-rounder’s long handle that the Pakistan supporters who were making their way to the exit stands in anticipation of a comfortable victory stopped in their tracks after seeing Perera’s late charge.
Their hearts would ultimately be broken when Perera hit Rumman Raees straight down the middle for a maximum to hand the World XI an unlikely victory.
What an innings by Thisara Perera to square the series. 47 not out off 19 balls with 5 sixes and just one dot ball. #PakvWXI
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) September 13, 2017
MALIK’S LATE CHARGE GIVES PAKISTAN IMPETUS
At one stage the World XI had done brilliantly to pull Pakistan’s batsmen back as they struggled to let loose in the middle-overs.
Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad had combined to put on a 59-run stand for the second-wicket but had failed to really get the acceleration that was desired on the pitch.
A late middle-order stumble meant Pakistan were in danger of settling for a well below-par score before Malik took charge.
The veteran batsman smashed three huge sixes in his 23-ball knock of 39 before being dismissed in the final delivery of the innings.
In the process Malik also became the highest run-scorer for Pakistan in T20I’s. His late assault was the sole reason the hosts crossed the 160-run mark to eventually settle on an imposing 174-6.
CUTTING HAS OFF-DAY WITH THE BALL
The Australian all-rounder took a serious beating on Wednesday as he was targeted by the Pakistan batsmen.
His use of the slower-delivery and other variations were wayward as Fakhar Zaman tore into him in his very first over.
The Aussie never really recovered from that point and was taken apart by Malik in the death overs.
Thrown the responsibility of bowling the final over of the innings, Cutting was hit for two-towering sixes by the Pakistan veteran as the over fetched 17 runs.
The pacer’s blushes were saved by Paul Collingwood who pulled off a sharp catch in the deep off the final delivery in the innings.
Cutting ultimately finished with figures of 1-52 off his four overs to cap-off a bad day in the office.
PAINE’S STRUGGLES WITH THE BAT CONTINUE
Another Aussie to end up in the wrong column, Paine has not had the best of times with the bat and wicket-keeping gloves in the Independence Cup so far.
After scoring a run-a-ball 25 in the first T20I when a faster scoring rate was needed, Paine had the platform set for him to launch away after a brisk 43-run opening stand between Tamim Iqbal and Hashim Amla.
However, the Australian found the going tough when he came onto bat. Though he managed to hit a six early into his innings, Paine struggled to get the right connection otherwise.
His scratchy time in the middle meant that momentum built by the World XI was lost as Pakistan managed to bring down the run-rate considerably.
Paine’s misery was ended by spinner Imad Wasim after he was clean-bowled to a delivery which kept low. The Aussie returned to the pavilion after a 12-ball innings which only garnered 10 runs.
In the end, the momentum lost during his stay could have proven to be costly for the World XI if not for Perera’s late assault.