Lahore, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan coasted to a comfortable 33-run victory against a World XI in their decisive Twenty20 international on Friday to clinch the three-match series 2-1.
The Pakistan Cricket Board had organized the series in collaboration with the ICC in a bid to revive international cricket at home after eight years.
Pakistan’s total of 183-4 revolved around a century stand between Ahmed Shehzad (89) and Babar Azam (48) after World XI captain Faf du Plessis won the toss and opted to field first.
The World XI crumbled against Pakistan’s superb ground fielding with three batsmen getting run out before they were restricted at 150-8.
“We’ve been talking to the international players and a few of them even said they’d like to come back again,” Shehzad said after winning the man-of-the-match award. “Yes, they came here, we all enjoyed but cricket wins.”
Fast bowler Hasan Ali returned after missing the second match with a strained back, and took 2-28.
The World XI chase was off-tracked after the experienced Hashim Amla (21) and Du Plessis (13) were both run out, as they lost wickets with regular intervals.
“This has been a huge success, we wanted to come here and play a small part in cricket coming back to Pakistan,” Du Plessis said. “We were joking about it, the blokes were saying we should do this every year.”
Earlier, Shehzad and Azam added 102 runs off 57 balls for the second-wicket stand after Fakhar Zaman (27) provided Pakistan a brisk start of 61 in front of a big crowd at the 25,000 capacity Gaddafi Stadium.
Shehzad, who hit eight fours in his 55-ball knock, upped the scoring rate in the last three overs when he smashed three successive sixes off Australian seamer Ben Cutting in the 18th over.
However, Shehzad missed out on his second T20 international century when he tried to steal a needless run in the same over and was run out.
Azam, dropped on 22 by South African Imran Tahir at fine leg, also missed his second half century of the series when he holed out after scoring 48 off 31 balls with five boundaries.
Shoaib Malik (17) provided an ideal finish to the innings with two sixes as Pakistan scored 107 runs in the last 10 overs.
The World XI stumbled in reply to 5-67 by the 10th over. Tamim Iqbal (14) struck three boundaries before he was clean bowled off left-arm seamer Usman Shinwari.
Ben Cutting and Amla both fell in Ali’s first over before former Australia captain George Bailey and Du Plessis also departed.
Thisara Perera and David Miller both scored 32 runs each to reduce the margin of defeat.
Perera, whose whirlwind 47 leveled the series on Wednesday, struck three successive sixes off leg-spinner Shadab Khan, before falling to a well-judged catch by Azam.
“Their fielding is electric (and) that’s a big change,” Du Plessis said. “They’re as good as any team. Skills wise, yorkers, slower balls — they’re all there.”