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The World Cup opening ceremony was held in grand fashion at the Buckingham Palace on the eve of the official start of the showpiece event. The ceremony was lit by the presence of major cricketing heroes and showbiz celebrities as former English all-rounder Andrew Flintoff and comedian Paddy McGuinness hosted the show.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and Pakistan’s Test specialist Azhar Ali represented Pakistan at the opening ceremony, as the duo was greeted to a large cheer from the crowd gathered.

Malala and Azhar also partook in the 60 second challenge organized at the opening ceremony, whereby each person had to take the batting stance and score as many runs as possible. Although Pakistan could manage only 38 points, they were able to better archrivals India.

Speaking on the occasion, Malala shared her fondness for cricket and praised the unifying spirit of the sport across diverse cultures.