The iconic Independence Cup moved to the 2nd T20I at the Gaddafi Stadium between Pakistan and World XI. Where the first game was won the by the hosts comprehensively, the visitors came back in the next one to clinch a thriller and kept the series alive at 1-1 with the series final to be played on Friday.
Pakistani skipper won the toss and this time, elected to bat. Morne Morkel bowled a brilliant first over and conceded just 2 runs. But Fakhar Zaman came into the act and struck 3 boundaries in the next over of Ben Cutting. Ahmed Shehzad too joined his partner and took the score to 35 without loss after 4 overs.
They had the perfect start but the leg-spinner Samuel Badree drew first blood by removing Zaman LBW in the 5th over for 21. The breaks were applied and Morkel delivered yet another gem of an over giving away just one run as his figures read 7/0 from 3 overs. At the end of the powerplay, Pakistan reached 43/1.
Azam-Shehzad steadied the ship
The half-centurion from the last game, Babar Azam joined Shehzad in the middle and the duo steadied the innings. They scored freely and didn’t let the pressure mount and a fifty partnership took them to 99/1 after 12 overs. Just when Shehzad had started opening his arms, Imran Tahir cut short his stay to 43 off 34 balls in the 13th over.
Azam was still at the crease and Shoaib Malik provided the impetus to the innings with some lusty blows. Azam was marching towards his second consecutive half-century but fell short by 5 runs as Badree accounted for his wicket in the 17th over. Thisara Perera removed Imad Wasim and Sarfaraz Ahmed in the penultimate over to halt the score at 157/5 but 2 sixes in the last over off Malik’s bat powered Pakistan to 174/6 at the halfway stage.
Amla held the fort
In reply, the World XI openers Hashim Amla and Tamim Iqbal began with aggression and both collected boundaries early. After just 4 overs, the score raced off to 41. Tamim, who was looking dangerous, was sent back by Sohail Khan in the 6th over to apply a check on the scoring but still, the visitors were at 49/1 at the end of the powerplay.
The spinners Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim once again managed to put the pressure and didn’t let the batsmen score freely off them. Tim Paine was castled by Wasim in the 10th over for 10 which meant the visitors were restricted to 72/2. Amla was still in the middle and looked comfortable.
Faf du Plessis attempted to up the ante and hammered a couple of sixes but he didn’t last long as Mohammad Nawaz removed him in the 14th over as the World XI reached 106/3. Amla kept the hopes alive and he had Thisara Perera for support at the other end. The visitors required 63 off the last 5 overs and the odds were in the favor of the hosts.
To keep up with the run rate, the duo in the middle collected 12, 10 and 8 from the 16th, 17th and 18th overs respectively. Then came the costly penultimate over of Sohail Khan in which Perera slammed 2 sixes and gathered 20 runs off the over. Needing 13 from the final over, Rumman Raees had the responsibility with the ball.
He began with a wide, followed by 2, 1, 2 and 1. The match was shaping up for a thriller as 6 runs were needed from 2 balls. Perera kept his nerves and smashed a full toss off Raees straight down the ground and over the ropes. The crowd was silenced in the stadium as World XI edged past the line by 7 wickets with a ball in hand. Perera finished with 47 off just 19 balls whereas Amla ended up with 72 off 55.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first
Pakistan: 174/6 in 20 overs
Babar Azam 45, Ahmed Shehzad 43
Thisara Perera 23/2, Samuel Badree 31/2
World XI: 175/3 in 19.5 overs
Hashim Amla 72*, Thisara Perera 47*
Mohammad Nawaz 25/1, Imad Wasim 27/1
World XI won by 7 wickets
Player of the Match: Thisara Perera