Fri, Sep 15, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Amla, Perera lead World

AFP and AP, LAHORE, Pakistan, and KABUL

World XI batsmen Hashim Amla, right, and Thisara Perera set off for a run during their Twenty20 match against Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday.

Photo: AP

Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera hit a towering six off the penultimate ball to steer the World XI to a thrilling seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 on Wednesday.

Perera made a whirlwind 47 not out off 19 deliveries with five sixes, while Hashim Amla finished on 72 not out off 55 balls to help the World XI overhaul a 175-run target and level the three-match series 1-1 at a packed Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

That left the series intriguingly placed with the final match today, also in Lahore.

Pakistan registered a 20-run win in Tuesday’s first match, which marked the return of international cricket to Pakistan.

Left-hander Perera went on a rampage as the visitors needed 33 off the final two overs, smashing two sixes off the 19th over bowled by Sohail Khan before sealing the match in the final over.

Amla, who scored his seventh international Twenty20 half-century, was the steadier of the two, with two sixes and five fours as he helped Perera add 69 runs for the fourth wicket off just 35 deliveries.

That partnership lifted the World XI after they lost Tamim Iqbal (23), Tim Paine (10) and skipper Faf du Plessis (20).

“It was a very happy day,” Perera said. “Hash [Amla] told me to stay till the last moment because we can catch up. I listened to him and we did really well. It’s a habit for me to be in the situation like this. This is a dream come true for me playing in this World XI. Thanks to Pakistan’s fans for coming out in good numbers.”

Meanwhile, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said it wants international teams back in Pakistan after an eight-year absence due to security concerns, but added it could be a “long process.”

The “ICC has already agreed to invest in security and develop security capabilities [of Pakistan] for a three-year period,” ICC chief executive David Richardson said. “Certainly I think the intention would be to bring member countries to tour Pakistan, not a World XI tour, and that would be the ideal to have international cricket return to Pakistan in normal circumstances.”

Richardson said it was too early to say when the Pakistan Cricket Board could host a full bilateral series and organize international games in other big cities like Karachi and Rawalpindi.

“It’s a long process,” Richardson said. “This is a stepping stone in the right direction. I think the next step is to improve capabilities to areas and cities outside of Lahore itself.”

However, terror gripped neighboring Afghanistan when a suicide bomber blew himself up near a cricket stadium in the capital, Kabul, on Wednesday, killing three people, including a police officer, and wounding five.

The attacker detonated the bomb after he was stopped at a security checkpoint by police as he walked towards Kabul’s main cricket ground where a match was under way.

The SITE monitoring group said the Islamic State’s local Khorasan Province affiliate had claimed the attack.

“The security forces by sacrificing themselves have prevented the attacker from reaching the crowd [inside the stadium] and creating a catastrophe,” police spokesman Basir Mujahid told reporters.

Two of the wounded were police officers.

Scores of police blocked the road leading to the stadium where the sixth match of the Shpageeza Cricket League, a domestic Twenty20 tournament, between the Boost Defenders and Mis Ainak Knights was under way.

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