Faf du Plessis won the toss and elected to bowl in the first T20 as the nation celebrated the return of International cricket in Pakistan. The hosts lost the early wicket of Fakhar Zaman, when he tried to run the ball down to third-man but ended up nicking it to Hashim Amla at first slip.
Babar Azam looked classy from ball one, scoring on both sides of the wicket and was brilliant with his footwork against Imran Tahir. Shahzad struggled to time the ball in most part of his innings but Babar did most of the damage. Both batsmen put up a 122-run partnership before Shehzad’s stay ended after hitting the ball straight to deep square-leg fielder off Ben Cutting. Babar scored 86 off 52 deliveries.
Babar was denied a chance of scoring his maiden T20I hundred when he tried to slog-sweep Tahir to deep-midwicket. Run-rate had just slowed down after the loss of Babar but Shoaib Malik chipped in with a perfect cameo, hammering 38 off 20 deliveries – pushing the total to 197 after 20 overs.
Hashim Amla looked threatening at the top of the order with some breathtaking shots – One off Sohail Khan where he punched a back-of-a-length ball to mid-on and the second off Hassan Ali, launching him over cover for almost a maximum.
The damage was done in the last over of the Powerplay where double strike from Rumman Raees removed both the openers, halting things for World XI.
Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan pulled the things back in the next four overs which frustrated the new batsmen at the crease – Tim Paine and Faf du Plessis. Du Plessis took the charge in the 12th over when he gave Hassan Ali a bit of a thrashing – scoring 22 runs off him.
Boundaries kept creeping in but wickets were falling at regular intervals, which pulled the World XI side back, giving the hosts a 20-run victory and 1-0 lead in a three-match series.
Babar Azam was adjudged man of the match for his game-changing innings.