Pakistan Tuesday took a giant step towards reviving international cricket at home with a 20-run victory over the World XI in a match before excited crowds amid tight security.
In chase of 198, star Bangladesh batsman Tamim Iqbal opened the innings for World XI, and although he started slowly against left-arm spinner Imad Wasim, he soon found his range against pacer Sohail Khan. Tamim hit Sohail for back to back boundaries in the fourth over, the first one lashed through cover point and the next mauled over midwicket for four. However, he could hit only one more, a flick off the pads through square leg in Rumman Raees's first ball of the sixth over, before the bowler had his revenge by beating Tamim's slog and hitting timber to send the left-hander back for a run-a-ball 18.
Hashim Amla smashing three boundaries and a six in his 17-ball 26 but left-arm pacer Rumman dismissed him in the same over to put the brakes on their innings.
Skipper Faf du Plessis hit four boundaries and a six while Darren Sammy smashed three sixes -- both scoring 29 -- but were unable to see their team through.
For Pakistan, paceman Sohail Khan and leg-spinner Shadab Khan finished with two wickets apiece.
Pakistan, sent into bat by World XI skipper Faf du Plessis, notched 197 for 5 with Babar Azam hitting a rapid 52-ball 86. His career best Twenty20 score had ten boundaries and two sixes.
Azam added 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad (39) as Pakistan built on the loss of opener Fakhar Zaman for eight.
Shoaib Malik smashed a 20-ball 38 with two sixes and four boundaries to give the final touches to the innings.
The second game is on Wednesday and the third on Friday -- both in Lahore.
Pakistan hopes the series will help end their international isolation, with Sri Lanka due to play a Twenty20 in October followed by three Twenty20 internationals against the West Indies in November.
SCORES IN BRIEF
PAKISTAN: 197 for 5 in 20 overs (Shehzad 39, Babar 86, Malik 38, Imad not out 15; Perera 2-51, M Morkel 1-32)
WORLD XI: 177 for 7 in 20 overs (Tamim 18, Amla 26, Paine 25, Du Plessis 29, Perera 17, Sammy not out 29; Sohail 2-28, Rumman 2-37, Shadab 2-33)
Result: Pakistan won by 20 runs.