Choice of game
Pakistan is a country full of passionate, loving, welcoming and caring people. People can be seen playing cricket everywhere in the country. It doesn't matter if it's the top of the Himalayas in the north or the deserts in the south, the beaches near the Arabian Sea or the plains of Punjab, the plateaus of Potohar or the mountains of Balochistan, along the Indus, or near the Khewra Salt Mines. Pakistanis do not hesitate to grab a bat and a ball even when faced by the extremely dry and hot weather of the Punjab or even when it rains abundantly during the monsoon.
But on a fateful day in 2009, a terrorist attack led to a pause in international cricket in Pakistan. The World XI's arrival ended a long drought of high-profile international cricket in the country, and with players from top teams coming, it was an affirmation that Pakistan had improved its security conditions to the level that it could stage international cricket.
It was the return of cricket to my beloved city, my Lahore, in the historic Gaddafi Stadium. I went to the second match too and watched an explosive performance by (Thisara) Perera the Phantom who came out of nowhere and snatched the game away from Pakistan's grasp. That set up a series decider on Friday, the anticipation of which had no bounds. It was a combination of both excitement and anxiety.
Since his debut, I have sincerely believed that Hasan Ali will be one of the great bowlers in world cricket. Ali gave away only 28 runs in four overs and got two key wickets - Ben Cutting and David Miller - when Pakistan desperately needed breakthroughs. Two wickets off successive deliveries in his first over set World XI back after a quick start.
One thing I'd have changed
I would have wanted to see Darren Sammy bat a bit up the order. We Pakistanis truly adore and respect him. He is a true sportsman and a real ambassador of the game. He wasn't able to hit freely when he came out to bat and he arrived at a time when the equation was out of hand.
When it's a Pakistani crowd you can't have 'a' wow moment. You're bound to have many. The chants of 'Selfie, selfie' for Ahmed Shehzad throughout the match, of 'Sammy, Sammy', of 'Pakistani Zindabad', the big Pakistani flag above our heads covering the audience, Shehzad and Perera's three consecutive sixes, the World XI players taking a lap around the ground acknowledging the crowd... they were all wow moments.
Shot of the day
Fakhar Zaman's six over point off Perera was definitely a treat to watch. Everything was right about that shot: the power, the timing, the execution, the trajectory, and finally the landing!
The crowd was intense throughout and wholeheartedly supported all the players irrespective of the team they were representing. Sammy was a particular favorite. Whenever he would be nearby, his name would be chanted. The stadium was packed. The atmosphere was simply amazing.
Fancy dress index
There were many people dressed fancily especially the person with the slogan 'Jani Pakistani'. Many people had Pakistan flags painted across their cheeks too.
In a T20 international with big names, what more could you hope for? More than 330 runs scored, Pakistani fielders effecting run outs with direct hits, Hasan Ali almost singlehandedly taking the momentum away from the opposition, Babar Azam continuing with his classy form, the South African legend Hashim Amla playing clinical strokes, George Bailey desperately trying to pick up a single off Ruman Raees' maiden, Sammy restricted to play dot balls and a thunderously applauding crowd.
Marks out of 10
10, if not more!
Want to do a Fan Following report? Read our FAQ here
Saad Abid is a writer, a poet, a radio anchor. He is a sports fanatic and is a great admirer of cricket. Hailing from Lahore, Pakistan he hopes to register himself as a credible sports journalist