Lahore, Sep 12: Babar Azam registered the biggest Twenty20 score of his career as international cricket returned to Pakistan with the hosts beating a World XI by 20 runs.
The country played host to a competitive international for the first time since a terrorist attack targeted Sri Lanka's team bus in Lahore in 2009, with the same city hosting this fixture.
Signs held by the spectators reading 'Pakistan wins today' and 'Historic moment – thanks World XI' bore out the emotional nature of the contest, with a capacity crowd at a heavily guarded Gaddafi Stadium.
And it was Babar who played the hero's role, smashing 86 from 52 balls in an effort of 197-5, which proved too much for the all-star opposition to chase down.
A day to remember for Pakistan fans, as they win the 1st #PAKvWXI T20I by 20 runs.September 12, 2017
Babar and Ahmed Shehzad (39) did the bulk of the work for Pakistan, piling on 122 runs for the second wicket after Fakhar Zaman was ousted by Morne Morkel in the first over for eight.
The 22-year-old Babar far surpassed his previous best of 55 not out, hitting 10 fours and a pair of sixes in a thrilling knock.
Shoaib Malik kept the foot on the gas with a 20-ball 38, with Imad Wasim's 15 runs from four, 14 of which came from the final three deliveries of the final over, putting up a total that the tourists could not overcome.
The World XI saw a string of starts stymied, with Hashim Amla (26), Tim Paine (25) and captain Faf du Plessis (29) all failing to match Babar's earlier efforts.
Sohail Khan (2-28), Rumman Raees (3-72) and Shadab Khan (2-33) each made regular inroads into the visiting line-up, with Darren Sammy's entertaining unbeaten 29 in vain as the World XI fell well short on 177-7 from their allocation.