Amla, Perera steer World XI to thrilling win against Pakistan
LAHORE – Thisara Perera, the Sri Lankan allrounder, found redemption against Pakistan by smashing a six off the penultimate delivery from Rumman Raees over the long-on boundary to seal a seven-wicket win for the World XI on Wednesday.
The sensational last-over finish leveled the three-match series at 1-1
Perera had dropped Sarfraz Ahmed during Sri Lanka’s ICC Champions Trophy 2017 league match against Pakistan in England with a semifinal spot on the line. On Wednesday though, there was no second chance offered, as Perera smashed five sixes during his fiery 47 not out off just 19 balls.
The chase was getting tough for World XI, who needed 33 off the last 12 balls. But in Perera and Hashim Amla (72 not out off 55 balls with two sixes and five boundaries) the team had the men to cross the line as the duo added 69 off just 35 balls.
Perera took the finishing duties on himself, hitting two sixes in the 19th over bowled by Sohail Khan, and had luck on his side, being dropped at the long-of boundary. His partnership with Amla lifted World XI after it lost Tamim Iqbal (23), Tim Paine (10) and skipper Faf du Plessis for 20 before the winning stand came to the rescue.
A packed stadium had come expecting Pakistan to seal the series, having witnessed a commanding win on Tuesday, but had to leave with the series still alive.
Sarfraz won the toss and chose to bat, but Pakistan fell 23 short of the total it had achieved on Tuesday, managing 174 for 6 in its 20 overs, a still sizeable score. However, unlike the previous day’s match, no top-order batsman went on to score big, although most did get starts.
Babar Azam was once again sublime, hitting five sweetly timed boundaries in his 38-ball 45. But when he looked set to score another half century he hit a lofted stroke, holing out to Samuel Badree, included in the XI in this match, in the deep.
Shoaib Malik once again tried to lift the innings through his 23-ball 39 that was spiced with three sixes, but a disciplined bowling effort from World XI meant the brakes were applied on Pakistan’s innings at crucial junctures.
Opener Fakhar Zaman, like he did on Tuesday, promised a big knock, hitting three fours in one Ben Cutting over and another in the next Badree over, but the legspinner had his man, trapping Zaman in front in the fifth over.
It was left to Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam to repair the innings, like they did with their 122-run stand on Tuesday. This time they added 59 to steer Pakistan to 100.
Malik hit two sixes in the last over before holing out off the last delivery of the innings. His innings had taken him to 1692 runs in Twenty20 Internationals to become Pakistan’s highest run-getter in the format, going past Umar Akmal’s 1690 runs. Both men have played 88 matches.
Badree ended with 2 for 31, while Perera had 2 for 23.
The third and final match of this series is on Friday.