Lahore: A packed Gaddafi Stadium witnessed a historic encounter between Pakistan and World XI and it was the hosts who came up trumps much to the delight of its fans. On a day which saw the resumption of international cricket in Pakistan, it was the men in green who won the first clash by 20 runs.
While there were some concerns surrounding the lack of firepower in the top order of Pakistan, it was put to rest after Babar Azam got off to a flying start. This was after World XI skipper Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to bowl first.
Pakistan failed to get off to a good start as they lost young Fakhar Zaman early. But from thereon, Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam steadied the ship as they put a 122 run-stand.
Babar Azam was the stand out performer with a brilliant knock of 86 off just 52 balls. His innings saw ten fours and two sixes as he picked the gaps and hit boundaries at will.
However, the duo of Azam and Shehzad were dismissed in quick succession.
This put the breaks on the scoring rate. At one point it seemed that Pakistan was well on course to cross the 200 run mark. But the two wickets in quick succession pegged things back. But Shoaib Malik hit a quickfire 38 to propel the innings to 197/5 at the end of 20 overs.
For World XI, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir was the pick of the bowlers.
Chasing a stiff target of 197, the World XI got off to a good start but kept losing wickets at regular intervals.
Shadab Khan and Sohail Khan lept the run rate in check and also picked up the crucial wickets of Faf du Plessis, David Miller, and Grant Elliott.
This pegged back the World XI as they failed to get the momentum which was needed to keep the run rate in check. Ultimately they fell short by 20 runs.