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Prolific Perera helps World XI set up Pakistan decider

13 September 2017 20:59

Pakistan's historic Twenty20 series with a World XI will go to a decider after Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera's supreme 19-ball knock tied the series at 1-1.

The series, which is being staged in Lahore, marks the first time competitive international cricket has been held in the country since a terrorist attack targeted Sri Lanka's team bus in the same city in 2009.

Babar Azam produced the best T20 score of his career by hitting 86 to inspire Pakistan to victory in the series opener on Tuesday, but Perera starred as the World XI struck straight back on Wednesday with a seven-wicket win.

Perera hit 47 not out off 19 balls while Hashim Amla finished unbeaten on 72, the World XI chasing down a target of 175 with a ball to spare.

After Samuel Badree ended Fakhar Zaman's 13-ball stay at the crease, Ahmed Shehzad (43) and Babar (45) combined for a second-wicket stand of 59, which was ended when the former was caught trying to clear long-on.

But Babar found another capable partner in Shoaib Malik, who became Pakistan's leading run scorer in T20s with a 23-ball 39, hitting three sixes in the process.

Babar could not kick on to post another big score but Shoaib, aided by an 11-ball cameo from Imad Wasim (15), ensured Pakistan posted a defendable total.

Tamim Iqbal (23) put on 47 with Amla for the opening wicket for the World XI before falling to a superb stretching catch from Malik off Sohail Khan.

Amla, whose innings comprised of five fours and two maximums, found little assistance from Tim Paine (10) but skipper Faf du Plessis saw 12 of his 20 runs come off sixes in a 14-ball innings ended by Mohammad Nawaz.

But Du Plessis' exit heralded the arrival of Perera, who struck five sixes including the match-winning hit off Rumman Raees, clubbing a full toss straight over the seamer's head to ensure Friday's finale will not be a dead rubber.

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