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Pakistan celebrate revival with win

Faf-du-Plessis-Sarfraz-trophy
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FT ONLINE

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 in Lahore amid tight security on Tuesday.

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 in Lahore amid tight security on Tuesday.

The Twenty20 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 at 7:00pm (1400GMT), around 9 000 police officers and paramilitary forces were deployed to the area, cordoning off the team’s hotels and stadium.

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

“I came here early to watch the teams come but that was not possible due to security so I only watched them in the ground and it made my day,” said spectator Azfar Ali.

Pakistan, sent in to bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197-5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. His career best Twenty20 score had ten 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.

PAKISTAN: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Imad Wasim, Fahim Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Sohail Khan, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees.

WORLD XI: Tamim Iqbal, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (capt), David Miller, Grant Elliott, Thisara Perera, Tim Paine (wk), Ben Cutting, Darren Sammy, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir.

-NK

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