"On their day, if they click and get everything right, Pakistan are very difficult to beat," said Chris Harris, the World XI captain, on the eve of this match. Needing a win to stay alive in the tournament, the Pakistan XI chased down 188 in such emphatic manner that less than halfway into their chase, there was no doubt about who would win this clash. Imran Nazir and Imran Farhat gave the chase some oomph in the first three overs, and Abdul Razzaq and Rana Naved-ul-Hasan completely obliterated the attack to wrap up victory in the 18th over, with six wickets in hand. Their unbeaten stand of 133 came from 74 balls, with 16 fours and four sixes.
Nazir, having failed against Bangladesh, clipped the first ball of Pakistan's innings for six, and was dropped by Damien Martyn at cover next ball. Consecutive fours by Farhat rounded off a 15-run opening over, but Martyn's lapse only cost the World XI two more fours - Nazir missed a slog to Andre Adams and was bowled for 15. Farhat fell to Jason Gillespie in the third over but had done plenty of damage to the bowler's figures.
Rana, whose batting had been key to the Lahore Badshahs' campaign, walked in at No. 4 and slapped Nantie Hayward for three fours in a row. By now Pakistan's run rate was 12.40. That became 13.83 after Lance Klusener's first over went for 21. Razzaq slogged two fours and six, and Rana hit four more through square leg. Gillespie, Adams and Hayward had been expensive against Bangladesh, and the misery continued against Pakistan.
It was not just the World XI's star bowlers who suffered. Syed Mohammed, who replaced Nicky Boje, would have wondered if he was better off on the bench after Rana hit his first three balls for 14 runs. The first was swept past short fine leg, the second lofted down the ground for six, and the third smashed to long-off. Klusener, Harris and Andrew Hall also took stick. Razzaq's fifty needed 25 balls while Rana took two less, smashing his 23rd delivery over midwicket for six. Harris' second over cost 16 and now the required rate was 4.28.
In the 16th over, Goodwin intercepted a very firm slash at backward point to get rid of Rana for a 38-ball 78 and a direct hit from Adams at mid-off beat Shahid Yousuf two balls later. But Razzaq, who had helped get the party started, was there to finish it off with an unbeaten 73 from 45 balls.
Pakistan's decision to field had backfired. From the first over, there was a crispness in Murray Goodwin's strokes and he gave the World XI's innings impetus. A potent bowling attack was made to look pedestrian and Goodwin's cutting and pulling remained his strongest point, while Martyn chose to slash a six over third man to get himself going. Rana incurred Goodwin's wrath in his opening over, which went for 14 and Goodwin welcome Arshad Khan's offspin with a smooth six down the ground.
Goodwin reached his fifty off 26 balls, at which stage Martyn was 19 off 16. Goodwin was bowled first ball by Riaz Afridi, swinging across the line, and Andre Adams went next for a breezy 19 off 15 balls. Klusener slammed his first seven deliveries for 16 runs, taking Arshad for two fours and a six, and became the third loss when Rana knocked back his leg stump. Martyn played a couple more classy boundaries and finished on 64 from 49 balls. Paul Nixon contributed 17 from 13.
A total of 188 would have been enough most days, but once again, Pakistan produced a stunning chase against the odds.