In a game that far exceeded its predecessor in electricity, intensity, quality and competitiveness, World XI edged Pakistan in a nerve-wracking contest that went down to the last two balls. Hashim Amla anchored a chase that seemed just out of World XI’s reach with an unbeaten 72 off 55 balls, but it was Thisara Perera, who delivered the knockout blow.
Walking in with his side needing 63 off the last five overs, Thisara displayed a level of clinical ruthlessness that Sri Lanka have lacked in recent times. He walloped five sixes in an unbeaten 19-ball 47 to complete the seven-wicket win. He finished with a humungous straight six off the second-last ball to keep the series alive and inflict Pakistan’s first-ever T20I defeat on home soil.
Pakistan’s innings centered around another partnership between Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad. It wasn’t quite the leviathan of Tuesday, but 59 runs off 45 balls was still a useful contribution that ensured the innings didn’t stutter through the middle overs. Ben Cutting once more came in for heavy punishment, conceding 52 off his four overs, but a bowling attack noticeably improved by Samuel Badree’s inclusion didn’t quite let Pakistan’s batsmen wreak havoc. In the end they still managed 174, though against the fireworks of Thisara, it was just within World XI’s reach.
Where the match was won
Amla was the notable difference for World XI. He took advantage of his start and carried his bat right till the end, unlike in the first T20I where the visiting team hadn’t mustered up more than a bunch of cameos. Having an anchor allowed the likes of Tamim Iqbal, Faf du Plessis and Thisara enjoy a greater degree of freedom.
Summarized scores: World XI 175 for 3 (Amla 72*, Thisara 47*) beat Pakistan 174 for 6 (Babar 45, Shehzad 43, Malik 39, Thisara 2-23) by seven wickets