Pakistan are off to a solid start, scoring 115 runs in 15 overs with the loss of two wickets in the second Twenty20 international (T20) game of the Independence Cup at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.
Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad strengthened the innings, making 59 runs between them before Shehzad fell for 43. He hit five fours and the only six of the match in his 34-ball inning.
Fakhar Zaman fell for 21, leg before wicket facing Samuel Badree. He scored four boundaries in his 13-ball knock, helping Pakistan reach 41.
Morne Morkel restricted the duo to just two runs off the first over, but Fakhar smacked three fearless boundaries off Ben Cutting in the second. Ahmed Shehzad joined his partner, striking two fours in the third over.
Sarfraz won the toss and opted to bat first. The pitch, which looks less dry today is likely to have more bounce. “It’s a pitch where most teams won’t mind batting second,” said former Zimbabwe cricketer Pommie Mbangwa.
There are two changes to both teams’ lineups, with Pakistan swapping out Faheem Ashraf for Muhammad Nawaz, and Usman Shinwari replacing Hassan Ali.
The World XI have Samuel Badree and Paul Collingwood coming in for Darren Sammy and Grant Elliott.
This is Collingwood’s first international match in six years. He played his last match in the 2011 World Cup against Bangladesh.
The World XI today seek to keep the series alive with a comeback following their defeat last night to the green shirts.
Skipper Faf du Plessis at the toss today said: “Obviously we play to win. You don’t rock up on the cricket field to just go out and have fun. This tour is not just about cricket, it’s even beyond.”
However, he added, it was “nice to play some cricket here. Nice to play with a few of the mates.”
On Tuesday night, Babar Azam led an inspired Pakistan side to a 20-run victory in the opening match of the series against the star-studded World XI side.
Man of the Match Babar laid the foundation for Pakistan’s big total with a fluent 52-ball innings laced with 10 boundaries and a brace of sixes.
The batsman lit up Gaddafi Stadium with a brilliant 86 to help Pakistan amass 197-5 in the T20I before the hosts restricted the World XI to 177-7.
It is hoped the World XI’s tour will spark the full return of international cricket to the country and the first match towards that goal didn’t disappoint.
The final match of the series will take place on Sept 15 at Gaddafi Stadium.
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c)(wk), Muhammad Nawaz, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Sohail Khan, Usman Shinwari and Rumman Raees.
World XI: Tamim Iqbal, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis (c), David Miller, Paul Collingwood, Thisara Perera, Tim Paine (wk), Ben Cutting, Samuel Badree, Morne Morkel and Imran Tahir.