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Pakistan overpowered a formidable World XI side in the first match of the historic Independence Cup by 20 runs. The hosts will go into today’s second match, needing just one more victory to clinch the series.

After setting a mammoth target of 198, the highly touted Pakistani bowling attack gave a good account of itself in front of a half-filled Qaddafi Stadium. Some tight bowling by spinners Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim was coupled with a pair-hunt by fast-bowlers Sohail Khan and Rumman Raees, leaving the visitors 20 runs short of the target.

Given that there is more to this series than cricket, the importance of optics is all the more essential. The authorities need to quickly take note

Openers Hashim Amla and Tamim Iqbal got off to a brisk start but both were dismissed by Raees in the 6th over, stifling the run-chase considerably. Just as skipper Faf du Plessis looked to take the game away from the hosts as he tanked Hasan Ali for 22 in the 12 over, he was castled by the young Shadab Khan. Thereafter, despite a late bloom by Darren Sammy, the target was not achieved. Shadab, Sohail, and Raees bagged two wickets apiece.

Read more: The wait is over! the historic Independence Cup kicks off today

Earlier, Faf du Plessis inserted Pakistan into bat after winning the toss. A brilliant knock of 86 by Babar Azam was ably supported by a sedate one by Ahmed Shehzad who scored 39. However, the impetus was given a late order flurry by the experienced Shoaib Malik and all-rounder Imad Wasim. Malik changed the complexion of the game by scoring 38 off 20 balls while Wasim despatched the ball over the fence twice in the final over to set a daunting task for the visitors.

Perhaps after all the hype surrounding the competitiveness of the game, the match was more of a walk in the park for Pakistan. The World XI was caged-in by the deceptive leg spin of Shadab Khan and the immaculate control of Imad Wasim. However, one can expect the World XI to bounce back strongly today as both teams lock horns.

Read more: India’s design for Pakistani cricket is a failure of Pakistani foreign…

After setting a mammoth target of 198, the highly touted Pakistani bowling attack gave a good account of itself in front of a half-filled Qaddafi Stadium

Much to the surprise of many, the attendance for the high-voltage clash was very less. This is primarily because of highly-priced tickets and the pain that people have in following security checks. Besides, there was no opening ceremony to celebrate the occasion other than international players getting a lap of honor while they were perched in a rickshaw. Given that there is more to this series than cricket, the importance of optics is all the more essential. The authorities need to quickly take note.

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