Pakistan vs World XI: Ahmed Shehzad powers hosts to Independence Cup series win

Ahmed Shehzad scored 89 off 55 balls – the highest by any Pakistan batsman in this series – as Pakistan defeated World XI to clinch the Independence Cup title.

cricket Updated: Sep 15, 2017 23:48 IST
HT Correspondent
Pakistan vs ICC World XI,Independence Cup,Ahmed Shehzad
Ahmed Shehzad (R) scored a 55-ball-89 for Pakistan in their third Independence Cup T20 against ICC World XI.(Twitter)

Ahmed Shehzad scored a brilliant 55-ball-89 while Pakistan bowlers produced a good performance to guide the hosts to a 33-run victory in the final Independence Cup Twenty 20 encounter in Lahore on Friday.

The win helped Pakistan win the three-match series 2-1. (SCORECARD)

After Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam powered the hosts to 183/4, Pakistan bowlers restricted ICC World XI to 150/8 in 20 overs.

Tamim Iqbal started well with three boundaries in the first over, but an in-swinger by Usman Khan spelt doom for the Bangladesh opener. Ben Cutting was the next to go as Hasan Ali uprooted his middle stump for 5 and that opened the floodgates. Hashim Amla, who slammed three beautiful boundaries, was run out after a terrible mix-up and at the 10-over mark, ICC World XI were struggling at 68 for the loss of 5 wickets.

Thisara Perera tried to bring the ICC World XI back into the game, but it was too little too late. The Sri Lanka all-rounder scored 32 off 13 balls and his dismissal at the hands of Rumman Raees was the final nail in their coffin. David Miller (32 off 29 balls) and Darren Sammy (24 off 23 balls) played steady knocks, but a disciplined performance by the bowlers clinched the game for hosts.

Hasan Ali was the pick of the bowlers with 2/28 while Imad Wasim, Usman Khan and Rumman Raees chipped in with a wicket each.

Earlier, Ahmed Shehzad scored 89 off 55 balls – the highest by any Pakistan batsman in this series – while in-form youngster Babar Azam scored 48 off 31 balls to take the hosts to a respectable total.

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Pakistan were off to a brilliant start with both openers – Ahmed Shehzad and Fakhar Zaman – looking to score quickly. ICC World XI skipper Faf Du Plessis decided to start proceedings with leg-spinner Samuel Badree, but the batsmen were up to the task as he was slammed for two boundaries. The two continued to play confidently as they completed their 50-run partnership in just 35 balls.

The partnership ended in the worst possible way with Fakhar Zaman getting run out at the non-striker’s end for 27. Ahmed Shehzad played a straight drive, but Darren Sammy was able to get a hand to it and the ball took out the stumps with Fakhar backing up. However, that did not affect Shehzad as the 25-year old continued to play aggressive shots and was able to bring up his half century off just 37 balls.

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Shehzad did not slow down after his fifty and made his intentions clear with back-to-back boundaries off Morne Morkel. Babar Azam, who has been the star for Pakistan in this series, provided able support to Shehzad as the hosts crossed the 150-run mark. Ben Cutting was the next victim of Ahmed Shehzad’s onslaught as the in-form batsman slammed three consecutive sixes in the 18th over.

However, Shehzad missed out on a well-deserved century when he was dismissed for 89. There was a slight misunderstanding between the batsmen and a good throw from George Bailey spelt doom for the in-from batsman. Babar Azam (48 off 31 balls) also missed out on his half century as Thisara Perera dismissed him in the final over of the innings.

First Published: Sep 15, 2017 21:25 IST