Pakistan welcomed back international cricket with a 20-run win over International Cricket Council World XI in the first Twenty20 match at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, on Tuesday. The match, accorded international status by the ICC, was 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. Former Pakistan pacer, Wasim Akram, took to Twitter to express his views on the match and how special it was for the cricket enthusiasts in Pakistan.
"Well done Pakistan we put on a great show last night! Like once upon a time, in what seems like forever ago, there was again magic in the air," Akram tweeted.
Well done Pakistan we put on a great show last night! Like once upon a time, in what seems like forever ago,there was again magic in the air— Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) September 13, 2017
One of the spectator, who was excited to see the teams play against each other, said, "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."
The long-awaited T20 match in Pakistan was played amidst around 9,000 police officers and paramilitary forces, which were deployed in the area surrounding the stadium. For Babar Azam, Fahim Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Shadab Khan, Rumman Raees and Hasan Ali, this was their first international match on home soil.
Being put into bat first, Babar Azam's 52-ball 86 runs, his highest T20 international score, powered the home team to a massive 197/5.
In reply, the World XI started off well with Tamim Iqbal hitting 18 with three boundaries and Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but were sent on the back-foot by left-arm pacer Rumman Raees, who dismissed both the openers in the same over.
Skipper Faf du Plessis and Darren Sammy, both scored 29 runs, but failed to see their team through. For Pakistan, pacer Sohail Khan and leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with two wickets apiece.
After registering the first victory, Pakistan lead the three-match T20 series 1-0. The second game will be played on Wednesday and the third on Friday.
(With AFP inputs)