An impressive half-century from Hashim Amla and a rapid cameo by Thisara Perera guided the ICC World XI to an exciting seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 worldwide of the Independence Cup here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Wednesday.
Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera arrived at the crease with World XI needing 69 from the final six overs and he provided the fireworks to snatch victory with an explosive 47 from just 19 deliveries.
Perera took the finishing duties on himself, hitting two sixes in the 19th over bowled by Sohail Khan, and had luck on his side, being dropped at the long-of boundary.
Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad had combined to put on a 59-run stand for the second-wicket but had failed to really get the acceleration that was desired on the pitch.
Now Faf du Plessis and co will be eyeing to level the series while the Green-shirts would be aiming to wrap up the home series. Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine too played like an ODI instead of T20I as he struggled against spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan.
Thisara Perera usually does not have a good time against Pakistan. In the first match of Independence Cup, he leaked as many as 51 runs and then scored a mere 17 in a pursuit of colossal total.
Pakistan reached the 50-run mark in 7.2 overs and crossed the 100 mark in 12.2 overs.
Their hearts would ultimately be broken when Perera hit Rumman Raees straight down the middle for a maximum to hand the World XI an unlikely victory. He was ably assisted by hero of the first match Babar Azam, who once again played a sensible innings, and collected 45 runs off 38 balls with the help of five fours.
In the end, the momentum lost during his stay could have proven to be costly for the World XI if not for Perera's late assault.
Both the teams made two changing each in their teams as Pakistan has included M Nawaz and Usman Shinwari in place of Hassan Ali and Fahim Ashraf while the World XI as they brought in Samuel Badree and Paul Collingwood who replaced Darren Sammy and Grant Elliot.
The veteran batsman smashed three huge sixes in his 23-ball knock of 39 before being dismissed in the final delivery of the innings.