MIRANSHAH: Pakistan XI beat UK Media XI by 133 runs in a T20 Peace Cup match played at picturesque Younis Khan Cricket Stadium at Miranshah, headquarters of North Wazirsitan Agency here on Thursday.
Pakistan XI has posted a total of 253 in allotted 20 overs against UK Media XI due to sterling bating display by star all-rounder ‘Boom Boom’ Shahid Khan Afridi who scored 80 runs and captain Inzamul Haq 28 not out.
Afridi’s batting heroics met with a roar of applause from the local crowd, who assembled in thousands to watch their favourite stars in action, including Inzamam ul Haq, Younis Khan, Kamran Akmal, Junaid Khan, Umer Gul, Umar Amin and Mushtaq Ahmed.
Afridi and Inzamam received warm applause from spectators when they were hitting towering sixes and fours in the jam packed stadium. The crowed raised slogans of Pakistan and Pak Army Zindabad.
In response, the UK Media XI has scored only 120 with loss of seven wickets. The heroic batting display of ‘Boom Boom’ Afridi has earned him Man of the Match Award while star Umar Amin clinched trophy of Best Batsman of the Match for his superb inning.
Governor Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Iqbal Zafar Jhagra who was chief guest on the occasion accompanied by Corps Commander Peshawar Lt General Nazir Ahmed Butt distributed medals and trophies among the players.
The Governor gave away winner trophy to Pakistan XI Captain Inzamul Haq and Man of the Match Trophy to star all rounder Shahid Khan Afridi.
Director General ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor, senior officials of Political Administration North Waziristan Agency besides civil, military officials also watched the friendly match.
Earlier, UK Media XI won the toss and opted to field. The match was a part of a series titled Peace Cup, organised by the Pakistan Army, Pakistan Cricket Board and PSL franchise Peshawar Zalmi.
The UK team is part of an 18-member group of journalists, lawyers, businessmen and academics aged between 21-62, which is currently touring Pakistan with an aim to improve the country’s image as a sports loving nation.
At the sidelines of the match, DG ISPR, Major General Asif Ghafoor said the hosting of Peace Cup matches will prove to the world that Pakistan is a peaceful country. He said life is back to normal in FATA and the residents of Fata have all the facilities available to them.
Major General Asif Ghafoor vowed that terrorism will never be allowed to regain stronghold in the region again.
He maintained that the process of rehabilitation of the internally displaced people has almost been completed.
Pakistan XI Captain Inzamam-ul-Haq said the tournament would send a positive and strong message to world that Pakistan was a peaceful and safe country.
“I could not even think in the past to play cricket match in North Waziristan Agency due to security situation here.” Peace has returned to North Waziristan due to supreme sacrifices of security forces and tribal people.
He thanked Pakistan Army, PCB and other organizers for their extensive arrangements for successful holding of the Peace Cup match here.
Haq expressed hope that an international cricket would return to Pakistan soon following successful tour of World XI in Lahore.
PSL Franchise Peshawar Zalmi Chairman Javed Afridi while welcoming players, UK media team and spectators to the land of peace and thanked Pakistan Army, PCB and other organizers for successful holding of the Peace Cup match in North Wazirsitan.
“Today’s cricket event in Miranshah showed that peace and normalcy has completely returned to North Waziristan Agency and it was possible due to supreme sacrifices rendered by Pakistan armed forces and tribal people for protection of motherland.”
The UK teams’ players also appreciated the arrangements made for this event and congratulated Pak XI for their triumph.
Hundreds of thousands of tribal people and cricket fans carrying Pakistan flags, posters of national cricket heroes watched the match with great enthusiasm. They raised slogans of Long Live Pakistan and Pak Army Zindabad.