About the Match
The Independence Cup T20 series hangs in a balance as Pakistan and the World XI team have each won one game; they will lock horns in the 3rd T20I match of the series at Lahore on 15th September and it is poised to be a firecracker till the end. Pakistan won the first match in a thrilling finish by 20 runs as they defended 197; the visitors then took the second match by 7 wickets with 1 ball to spare to level the series 1-1. It needs to be seen now which side can overcome the challenges on the field and emerge victorious on Friday.
Babar Azam blasted 86 off 52 as his team batted first against World XI in the first game; comprising of 10 fours and couple of sixes, the fiery youngster gave stability to the hosts and helped them post 197 runs along with others like Ahmed Shehzad and Shoaib Malik. Spinner Shadab Khan took 2 wickets while speedsters Rumman Raees and Sohail Khan dismissed 2 opponents each to stifle World XI and win the match by 20 runs.
Batting first again in the second T20, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, and Shoaib Malik posted good partnerships to keep the scoreboard ticking. However, the opposition bowlers gave no room for error and the hosts could muster only 174 runs. Imad Wasim then used his spin magic to dismiss one opponent while pacers Mohammad Nawaz and Sohail Khan took a wicket each; however, they failed to defend the total and lost the match by 7 wickets.
They are in good form in all departments of the game and with a clear strategy in place, the hosts could take the series with another powerful show with the bat here.
In the second match, Badree and Tahir took 3 wickets between them in an economical manner while Perera took 2-23 with his disciplined pace attack. Ben Cutting also contributed with a wicket but proved to be expensive. They did well together to restrict Pakistan to 174 and the batsmen struck hard to reach the target thanks to a powerful 72 off 55 by Amla. Perera, Plessis, and Iqbal also helped with the run-flow and won the match with 7 wickets in hand.
In the opening match of the series, the batting line-up crumbled like a pack of cards while chasing a stiff target of 198; Amla, Paine, and Plessis pitched in with 20+runs each but fell quickly against the Pakistani bowlers. With no real partnerships down the line except Sammy and Perera’s brave efforts to keep the scoreboard ticking, they lost the match by 20 runs. Earlier, Cutting, Morkel, and Tahir took a wicket each in a disciplined way but others like Perera and Sammy were hit hard by the hosts.
The team consists of experienced batsmen like Tamim Iqbal, Hashim Amla, Faf du Plessis and others like David Miller, Thisara Perera and Tim Paine. Speedsters Morne Morkel, Collingwood, Perera and Ben Cutting and spinners Imran Tahir and Samuel Badree can outwit the hosts with their clever tactics. They will be determined to defeat Pakistan in their own backyard having won the 2nd match.
Both teams will fight tooth and nail to take the T20 series but whichever team keeps a cool head above its shoulders will have the edge here. While Pakistan has the home advantage, we feel that World XI with its in-form top-order and pace attack is better placed to win on Friday.