Pakistan put up a dominant display against the World XI to win the first T20 of the Independence Cup by 20 runs. They posted 197-5 at the end of the first innings as Babar Azam scored a quick fire 86 from 52 balls to propel Pakistan to a dominant position.
The World XI batting had a rough start, reaching only 68 in 10 overs. They ended with 177-7, with no batsman passing 30. Four batsmen scored between 25-29, and all of them failed to capitalise on their starts.
The match was surrounded by high expectations, and it did not disappoint. There are still two matches to go, and the second one promises to be just as exciting as the first one.
Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Umar Amin, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Fahim Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Rumman Raees, Usman Khan, Sohail Khan
David Miller, Morne Morkel, Tim Paine, Thisara Perera, Imran Tahir, Darren Sammy, Hashim Amla, Grant Elliott, Samuel Badree, George Bailey, Tamim Iqbal, Paul Collingwood, Ben Cutting, Faf du Plessis(c)
Where the Teams Stand
The home side was brilliant in all departments, despite conceding 177 with the ball. Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam put up a 122 run partnership which threatened to push their side to a score over 210. However, both of them dismissed in the space of 12 runs, stunting the momentum Pakistan had gained. Shoaib Malik then took over from where Azam left off. He scored 38 from 20 balls, with a strike rate of 190. Three sixes came off the last over as Imad Wasim accumulated 15 from 4 to push Pakistan to 197.
Pakistan should be happy with their bowling performance. Imad Wasim bowled 4 overs for 22, Sohail Khan ended with an economy of 7 from four overs. Hasan Ali conceded 44 from his quota, whereas Raees gave away 37 from 3, and though the latter has a higher economy, he dismissed both the openers. Shadab Khan ended with 2-33 from four overs with an economy 8.25. The spinner is a great talent for the country and is one player to watch out for in the series.
That the next match is within 24 hours means that the home side might rotate their squad before going with their first team for the third match to ensure that the players are well rested. The lack of quality replacements could act as a deterrent to the idea, but if the management goes through with it, Umar Amin could get a look in for Fahim Ashraf, who was minimally involved in the match. He bowled one over and faced one ball in the entire match. Regardless, Pakistan is well equipped to deal with the World XI on Wednesday.
At RealSport, we warned against selecting Perera and Miller due to their recent record. Miller scored 9 from 7 balls, and Perera took 2-51 from 4 overs. He scored 17 from 11 balls, but it wasn’t enough to justify his selection when you have the likes of Bailey and Collingwood on the bench.
The World XI’s bowling was ordinary considering the quality in their ranks. Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel were the only two with acceptable figures. The former ended with 1-32, and the latter with 1-34 in 4 overs each. Sammy conceded 24 from 2 overs but made up for it with the bat, smashing 29 from 16 balls. Elliott and Cutting were underwhelming with the ball and they desperately need to pull up their socks for the second match if they wish to win.
Tamim Iqbal scored 18 from 18, and Tim Paine managed 25 from 25. 43 runs from 7.1 overs in a 198 run chase is an absolute joke, especially considering that Cutting didn’t face a single ball and Sammy was looking good at the crease with a strike rate of 181. Plenty of the batsmen got off to a good start, but no-one could stay at the crease and convert it to a big score like Azam did for Pakistan. Du Plessis and Amla looked like they might carry the team through, but the Pakistani bowlers did well to stifle the flow of runs and take wickets regularly to hamper the chase. The healthy strike rates are a good sign though, and if even one can sustain the power hitting in the next match, the World XI might be more competitive.
Pakistan will win again.
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