Karachiites welcomed international cricket back at the National Stadium with the first T20I between top-ranked Pakistan and the reigning World T20 champions, West Indies on April 1st.
Pakistan claimed a convincing victory against the West Indies by 143 runs in the first encounter of the three-match T20I series.
Here are the five highlights from the opening contest of the series.
The crowd sang Pakistan’s national anthem
It is a ritual in international cricket that national anthems are being played of both the competing teams before the start of play. However, during Pakistan’s national anthem the speakers suddenly went silent half-way through and the crowd and the team completed the anthem singing out loud. It was unarguably one of the most emotional and patriotic moments that ever took place at the National Stadium Karachi.
Hussain Talat showed his class at the international stage
Hussain Talat, the find of Pakistan Super League’s third edition, received the man of the match award in his debut T20I. He scored 41 runs off 37 deliveries, got one wicket and took two catches in the match to emerge as the top performer in the game. Talat became one of the few players to win the man of the match award on his T20I debut.
Shoaib Malik has still got it
Shoaib Malik was sent at a moment when Pakistan were all set to launch an attack against West Indian bowling attack. Commentators and fans wanted Asif Ali, the other debutant for Pakistan in the first game, to come out to bat as he has a reputation of a big hitter. However, Malik once again proved that he can bat in any circumstance as he went on to score 37 runs off just 14 deliveries with the help of two 6’s and four 4’s.
Pakistan equalling their highest T20I score
It was only the second T20I to be played at the venue of National Stadium Karachi. The first T20I played on this venue was between the hosts and Bangladesh in 2008 where they scored 203/5, where Misbah Ul Haq stood out with a score of 87 runs off 53 deliveries. Pakistan scored the same total of 203/5 in the second T20I played at this venue with the courtesy of quick scoring from Fakhar Zaman, Sarfraz Ahmed, Hussain Talat, Shoaib Malik and Faheem Ashraf.
Pakistan registered their biggest ever T20I win
The previous biggest win for Pakistan came against Bangladesh in the last T20I they played at the National Stadium Karachi in 2008. They scored 203/5 and restricted Bangladesh on 101 runs registering a victory by 102 runs. Pakistan bettered their feat at the same venue when they crushed an inexperienced West Indies by 143 runs. The hosts scored 203/5 batting first and bundled up West Indies for just 60 runs.