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Posted at: Sep 13, 2017, 2:35 AM; last updated: Sep 13, 2017, 2:35 AM (IST)

Pak rock as cricket rolls again

Azam’s 86 helps Pakistan beat World XI by 20 runs in first T20I
Pak rock as cricket rolls again
Babar Azam hugs Ahmed Shehzad after scoring a half-century

Lahore, september 12

Pakistan took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in a match before excited crowds amid tight security.

The T20 match, accorded international status by the International Cricket Council, is only the second time Pakistan has hosted an international match since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff.

Long before the match started, around 9,000 police officers and paramilitary forces were deployed to the area, cordoning off the team hotels and stadium.

But the large security presence did little to temper the enthusiasm of fans in the cricket-mad country.

Pakistan, sent into bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197/5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. 

His career-best T20 score had 10 boundaries and two sixes. Azam added 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad (39) as Pakistan built on the loss of opener Fakhar Zaman for eight. 

Shoaib Malik smashed a 20-ball 38 with two sixes and four boundaries to give the final touches to the innings. 

The World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman Raees dismissed both in the same over to put the brakes on their innings.

Skipper Faf du Plessis hit four boundaries and a six while Darren Sammy smashed three sixes — both scoring 29 — but were unable to see their team through.

For Pakistan, paceman Sohail Khan and leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with two wickets apiece.

Brief Scores: Pakistan: 197/5 in 20 overs (B Azam 86, S Malik 38, A Shehzad 39; T Perera 2/51); World XI: S Khan 2/28, R Raees 2/37, Shadab Khan 2/33). — AFP 

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