LAHORE: Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera and South African star batsman Hashim Amla sparkled with bat as World XI defeated Pakistan by seven wickets after a thrilling contest in the second Twenty20 International of a three-match series at picturesque Gaddafi Stadium here on Wednesday evening. Perera made a whirlwind 19-ball 47 not out with five sixes, while Amla finished not out 72 off 55 balls to help World XI overhaul a 175-run target and level the series 1-1. Pakistan had registered a 20-run win in Tuesday’s first match, which marked the return of international cricket to Pakistan. The third and final T20 will be played on Friday (tomorrow) at the same venue: GSL.Chasing the formidable target, the star-studded international side fought tooth-and-nail to keep the series alive following their defeat in the first encounter and inflict Pakistan’s first-ever T20I defeat on home soil. However, it was left-handed Perera’s aggressive five sixes that led the side to victory with one ball left in the game. He was awarded man of the match award. 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. Skipper Faf du Plessis was the last man out, off Mohammad Nawaz’s bowling, right after he hit a six. He scored 20 runs off 14 balls with two 6s under his belt. Tamim Iqbal was caught by Shoaib Malik off Sohail Khan, leaving the pitch with 23 runs, whereas wicket-keeper Tim Paine was bowled by Imad Wasim for 10.Earlier, Pakistan made 174 for the loss 6 scalps in their 20 overs. Babar Azam (45), Ahmad Shahzad (43) and 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 Shahzad 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 Samuel Badree (2-31) were the main wicket takers for the visitors.Both teams made two changes to their lineups, with Pakistan swapping out Faheem Ashraf and Hassan Ali for Nawaz and Usman Shinwari. The World XI had Badree and Paul Collingwood come in for Darren Sammy and Grant Elliott. This was Collingwood’s first international match in six years. He played his last match in the 2011 World Cup against Bangladesh. Published in Daily Times, September 14th 2017.