A well-composed 86 off 52 has taken Pakistan to 197-5 from their 20 overs in the first T20I against World XI at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Pakistan would have liked to go past the 200-ru mark, but World XI bowlers did a decent to restrict the Pakistani team.
Pakistan did not get off to the best of starts as they lost their opener Fakhar Zaman in the very first over of the match for 8. He hit Morne Morkel for a couple of boundaries in the first 2 balls of the match, but Morkel bounced back with a wicket as Zaman played the ball straight to Hashim Amla at first slip.
From there, Ahmed Shehzad and Azam did a commendable job, putting on 122 runs for the second wicket to help Pakistan set an excellent platform. Shehzad played second fiddle to Azam, who was on fire right from the beginning. None of the bowlers managed to get into the rhythm and the Pakistan batsmen took full advantage of it. Once Shehzad was dismissed in the 15th over, the experienced Shoaib Malik walked into the crease. With Azam going great guns at the other end, all he had to do it give him the strike as much as possible.
However, Azam fell to Imran Tahir in the in the penultimate ball of the 16th over, which brought 2 new batsmen at the crease. Azam fell 14 short of his century after he failed to get hold of a slog sweep. Sarfraz Ahmed walked in at No. 4 and needed to go after the bowling right from the beginning. But i his oursuit to go big, he fell for just 4 eventually. Meanwhile, Malik at the other end had already hit a couple of boundaries and looked to finish the Pakistan innings with a flourish.
That’s exactly what he did as he smacked Ben Cutting for three continuous fours in the 19th over. However he was dismissed in the final over, but not before scoring 38 off just 20 deliveries. But imad Wasim hit a couple of sixes in the last 2 balls to ensure Pakistan finished just 3 runs short of 200.
Earlier, World XI had won the toss and elected to bowl.
Pakistan 197-5 in 20 overs (Babar Azam 86, Ahmed Shehzad 39; Thisara Perera 2-41, Morne Morkel 1-32) vs World XI