World XI bowl in decider; Hasan Ali returns for Pakistan

World XI cricketers George Bailey, Darren Sammy and Grant Elliott take part in a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium.— AFP

The third and final match of Independence Cup 2017 between Pakistan and World XI will take place on Friday at Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore to seize the historic T20I series. The hosts won the opening game by 20 runs before the visitors bounced back to secure a seven-wicket win in a last-over thriller.

Acknowledging the importance of that event, Richardson said that the current three-match series would go a long way towards convincing other countries that Pakistan could safely host their teams.

On Friday, the World XI, chasing a target of 184, never got going as they could manage to score only 150/8 in their 20 overs.

The first two games have passed off peacefully and the International Cricket Council has said it will pay for security firms to protect touring sides over the next three years.

Grant even conveyed his feelings that he is hopeful that Pakistan will soon be able to play Test cricket on its home soil.

Notably, former skipper Shahid Afridi had opined that the ICC World XI would have been better off if it had had players from the Virat Kohli-led Team India. In his innings, he hit eight fours and three maximums as he picked the gaps and hit boundaries at will.

Pakistani cricketers exercise during a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium on September 11.— AFP
Pakistani cricketers exercise during a practice session at the Gaddafi Stadium on September 11.— AFP

Earlier, PCB Chief Najam Sethi confirmed that the agreement with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has been finalised to play three-match Twenty20 series in Lahore that will be played at the end of November this year.

However, Sutherland remained doubtful about the possibility of Australia visiting Pakistan in October 2018 when the two teams are slated to face each other.

While political tensions between the neighbouring countries are being seen as an obvious reason for Indian players not being part of the World XI squad, ICC CEO Dave Richardson shed more light on the issue.

It consequently left Pakistan deprived of regular worldwide cricket in the country.

Sethi said Sri Lanka had also agreed to play a one-off T20 worldwide in Lahore on October 29, though he was still holding out hope for two matches.

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