Kolkata: With the Independence Cup levelled at 1-1, both the World XI team and Pakistan would look to put on an emphatic performance in the final T20I of the series at the Gaddafi stadium in Lahore and end on a high after international cricket successfully made it’s comeback in the nation.
In the first match of the competition, Pakistan dominated all the aspects of the game and quite rightly so, emerged as the eventual winners at the end of the day. Babar Azam was the star performer with the bat while the bowlers stuck to a decent line and length which made life difficult for the World XI team to tonk a few ones out of the park at the end.
The second fixture too seemed to progress in the same way, although Pakistan had batted first again but could score just 174/6 in their 20 overs. The bowlers however stood up to the task and delivered as they piled up all the pressure on the visitors. Hashim Amla was the only one who stayed focused and kept on going, when all the others around him fell.
But it was the Thisara Perera show whose 47-run blitzkrieg of just 19 balls made the difference. His stay at the crease was all about the big hits as he took the attack to the Pakistan bowlers and ended up unsettling their rhythm. Perera fought well to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat and finished things off in style with a huge six.
Both these teams would wish to make an impact on Friday when they meet for the decider.
But one must admit that Pakistan’s performance has improved a lot ever since their historic win against India in the Champions Trophy final earlier this year. They have improved equally in all the departments of the game and this was evident in both these games, where they were in a winning situation.
The World XI side too must not hope for Perera to save the day everyday and would like to improve their batting, especially in the middle overs. Also, they would want to come up with a more complete performance in the final match of the series.
The Gaddafi stadium in Lahore has already witnessed two very exciting and thrilling games of cricket. With the series at stake, the third one promises to be a great contest out of which the better team would emerge as the winner. The question remains as to who will it be-World XI or Pakistan?