Amla, Perera set up World XI T20 win over Pakistan

World XI batsman Hashim Amla plays a shot as Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed looks on during the second Twenty20 match at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium in Lahore Wednesday. (AP)
Updated 13 September 2017
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Amla, Perera set up World XI T20 win over Pakistan

LAHORE: Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera hit a towering six off the penultimate ball to steer the World XI to a thrilling seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the second Twenty20 Wednesday.
Perera made a whirlwind 19-ball 47 not out with five sixes, while Hashim Amla finished not out 72 off 55 balls to help the World XI overhaul a 175-run target and level the three-match series 1-1 before a packed Qaddafi stadium in Lahore.
That left the series intriguingly placed with the final match on Friday, also in Lahore.
Pakistan had registered a 20-run win in Tuesday’s first match, which marked the return of international cricket to Pakistan.
Left-hander Perera went on a rampage as the visitors needed 33 off the last two overs, smashing two sixes off the 19th over bowled by Sohail Khan before sealing the match in the last over.
Amla, who scored his seventh international Twenty20 half-century, was the steadier of the two, with two sixes and five fours as he helped Perera add 69 runs for the fourth wicket off just 35 balls.
That partnership lifted the World XI after they lost Tamim Iqbal (23), Tim Paine (10) and skipper Faf du Plessis (20).
“It was a very happy day,” said Perera. “Hash (Amla) told me to stay till the last moment because we can catch up. I listened to him and we did really well.
“It’s a habit for me to be in the situation like this. This is a dream come true for me playing in this World XI. Thanks to Pakistan’s fans for coming out in good numbers.”
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed gave credit to the visitors.
“World XI deserves the credit,” said Ahmed. “Amla and Perera kept it till late and did it. Our bowlers are young and this is an occasion for them to learn how to bowl in such situations.
“We were also a little sloppy in the field. The score was good enough but if the execution was better in defending, we would have pulled it off.”
Pakistan had scored 174-6 in their 20 overs.
Babar Azam (45), Ahmed Shehzad (43) and Shoaib Malik (39) had good starts but none of them went on to score big, as Pakistan found it tough going on a slow and low pitch after winning the toss.
Opener Fakhar Zaman fell for 21 in the fifth over before Shehzad and Azam steadied the innings with a 59-run stand for the second wicket.
Malik hit two sixes in the last over before holing out off the last delivery of the innings.
During his 23-ball knock Malik became the leading run scorer for Pakistan in Twenty20 international cricket, overhauling Umar Akmal’s aggregate of 1,690 runs in 88 matches by two runs.
He now has 1,692 in 88 matches.
Perera (2-23) and West Indian spinner Badree (2-31) were the main wicket takers for the visitors.


Sun could set on Hyderabad while Knight Riders are the ones to watch as the IPL enters the final sprint for glory

Updated 22 May 2018
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Sun could set on Hyderabad while Knight Riders are the ones to watch as the IPL enters the final sprint for glory

  • IPL down to four teams as cash-rich circus nears its climax.
  • Knight Riders coming into form at just the right time.

In our preview, we had tipped Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings for the playoffs, while mentioning that Rajasthan Royals would be the dark horses. But after a topsy-turvy season that saw Mumbai Indians, the holders knocked out, and the seventh-placed side finish within a win of the playoffs, it is time to run the rule again over the four teams that have made it to the final week.



SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

Recent form: WWLLL

Given a choice, you would not go into the business end of a tournament on the back of three straight defeats. Hyderabad lost some intensity after sealing their playoff spot, even as Kane Williamson, captain extraordinaire, continued to bat like a dream. Their bowlers, so miserly earlier in the tournament, have taken some punishment in the past fortnight, and their hopes of repeating the triumph of 2016 will depend largely on some key players finding form. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has had a disappointing season, and there has been scant batting support for Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan. Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul, whose performances have earned an India call-up, have led the bowling, and while Shakib Al-Hasan has been disciplined, he needs to do far more with bat in hand.


CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Recent form: WLWLW

They could play only one game at their Chepauk fortress before opportunistic Cauvery-water-related protests forced them to shift their home base to Pune. Only one of their bowlers, Shardul Thakur, features in the top 20 wicket-takers list, and he has conceded nearly nine an over. But despite the hardships, Chennai have again made the playoffs, for the ninth time in nine seasons (they were banned for the 2016 and 2017 editions). MS Dhoni’s renaissance with the bat has garnered the headlines, but around him, Ambati Rayudu has made 586 runs and Shane Watson 438. Even a largely out-of-sorts Suresh Raina has managed 391. Dwayne Bravo’s death-overs bowling has gone from strength to concern, but the raw pace of Lungi Ngidi — nine wickets at an outstanding economy rate of 6.11 — has given Chennai a thrilling option that Dhoni will doubtless use wisely. It’s hard to see past them in a high-pressure game.



KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Recent form: LLWWW

The city that was ruled by the Left Front for nearly four decades has got through because of the strength of the collective. That is not to say individual brilliance has been absent. Sunil Narine, despite the murmurs over his action, leads the Most Valuable Player race with 327 runs (strike-rate of 189) and 16 wickets. Andre Russell has shown his prowess with both bat and ball, while Dinesh Karthik, who took over as captain this season, has shown Zen-master calm to guide the team home in chases. Six of the batsmen have scored more than 250 runs, and young Prasidh Krishna — discovered through the Karnataka Premier League — has given them a potent pace option. If they can coax a couple of big performances from Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla, the wrist spinners who have had underwhelming seasons, they are a good long shot to land a third title.



RAJASTHAN ROYALS

Recent form: WWWLW

The power-packed batting of Jos Buttler helped transform their season, but it also led to an unexpected Test call-up that has deprived the Royals of one of their trump cards. Ben Stokes, who had a poor season with the bat and an average one with the ball, has also gone, leaving the onus very much on the Indian contingent. Ajinkya Rahane’s batting has been mediocre, but he has led brilliantly, coaxing some terrific displays from fringe spinners like Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham. Jofra Archer’s pace and white-ball nous has allowed them to overcome the poor bowling form of Jaidev Unadkat and Dhawal Kulkarni. But Sanju Samson, who has gone off the boil after a great start, and Rahul Tripathi will need to bat out of their skins to replicate the Buttler heroics that turned around a miserable 3-6 start. Despite being the form side, the suspicion persists that they’re a marquee player or two short.