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Pakistan beat the World XI by 20 runs in an exciting finish to the first Twenty20 match in Lahore on Tuesday, celebrating the return of international cricket to the country amid tight security. It is only the second time Pakistan has hosted an international match since a 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team bus, also in Lahore. Pakistan's total of 197-5 saw one-drop batsman Babar Azam top-scoring with a 52-ball 86 studded with 10 boundaries and two sixes, adding 122 for the second wicket with Ahmed Shehzad who made 39.

The World XI finished with 177 with Darren Sammy and skipper Faf du Plessis scoring 29 each. For Pakistan Sohail Khan, Shadab Khan and Rumman Raees took two wickets apiece. The second and third matches are also in Lahore on Wednesday and Friday. Earlier, Pakistan Tuesday celebrated the return of international cricket on home soil as its top players prepared to meet a World XI in a stadium sealed off by thousands of police and troops.

Apart from five limited-overs games against minnows Zimbabwe in 2015, Pakistan have not hosted top-level international cricket since militants attacked the bus of the visiting Sri Lankan team in March 2009, killing eight people and injuring seven players and staff. Since then Pakistan have been forced to play most of their "home" games in the United Arab Emirates - with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) complaining they have incurred losses of around $120 million

The PCB is now hoping the three World XI Twenty20 games are staged successfully, paving the way for Pakistan to host Sri Lanka for one T20 international next month followed by three T20s against the West Indies in November. The World XI is led by South African skipper Faf du Plessis and includes players from Australia, England, the West Indies, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Sarfraz Ahmed is leading the Pakistan side and is among just five cricketers on the roster who have played a home international match - alongside Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad, Imad Wasim and Sohail Khan. Ahmed said his squad were eager to play on home soil before a capacity 25,000 crowd at Lahore's Gaddafi stadium. "We are super-excited," said Ahmed. "A lot of players will be playing at home for the first time so the excitement is reaching its climax."

Around 9,000 police officers and paramilitary forces were deployed to the area, cordoning off the team's hotels and stadium. But the large security presence did little to temper the enthusiasm of fans in the cricket-mad country. "We should call it Pakistan's Cricket Day," said Amina Salahuddin, wearing a green Pakistan T-shirt. "We started off at 10am but it's worth the pain and wait." Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram said he hopes more cricket will come the country's way soon. "We have suffered a lot," Wasim told AFP. "I am so excited that it feels like I am going to play my first match."





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SCOREBOARD

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Pakistan

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F. Zaman c Amla b Morkel 8

A. Shehzad c Sammy b Cutting 39

B. Azam c Miller b Tahir 86

S. Malik b Perera 38

S. Ahmed c Paine b Perera 4

I. Wasim not out 15

F. Ashraf not out 0

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Extras: (lb1, w6) 7

Total: (for 5 wkts, 20 overs) 197

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Did not bat: Shadab Khan, Sohail Khan, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees

Fall of wickets: 1-8 (Zaman), 2-130 (Shehzad), 3-142 (Azam), 4-161 (Ahmed), 5-182 (Malik)

Bowling: Morkel 4-0-32-1, Perera 4-0-51-2, Cutting 4-0-38-1 (1w), Tahir 4-0-34-1 (1w), Elliott 2-0-17-0, Sammy 2-0-24-0





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World XI

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Tamim Iqbal b Raees 18

Hashim Amla c I. Wasim b R. Raees 26

T. Paine c Raees b S. Khan 25

F. du Plessis c sub (Amin) b Shadab 29

D. Miller c Ahmed b Shadab 9

G. Elliott c I. Wasim b S. Khan 14

T. Perera run out 17

D. Sammy not out 29

B. Cutting not out 0

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Extras: (lb6, w4) 10

Total: (for seven wkts, 20 overs) 177

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Fall of wickets: 1-43 (Iqbal), 2-48 (Amla), 3-101 (du Plessis), 4-108 (Paine), 5-123 (Miller), 6-145 (Elliott), 7-173 (Perera)

Bowling: Wasim 4-0-22-0, Khan 4-0-28-2 (1w), Hasan 4-0-44-0, Raees 3-0-37-2 (1w), Ashraf 1-0-7-0, Shadab 4-0-33-2 (1w)

Result: Pakistan won by 20 runs

Toss: World XI

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Ahsan Raza (PAK)

Tv umpire: Shozab Raza (PAK)

ICC match referee: Richie Richardson (WI).



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