Hashim Amla once again showed what an underrated player he is in T20 cricket by guiding a World XI to a seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in Lahore on Wednesday evening.
It means the battle for the Independence Cup – the first proper international cricket in Pakistan since 2009 – is tied at one-all.
The Proteas stalwart played a superb innings, anchoring the pursuit of 175 with an unbeaten 72 off 55 balls.
Ironically, Amla’s contribution may yet go unnoticed (again) because of the fireworks provided by Thisara Perera.
The Sri Lanka all-rounder was the World XI’s hero, smashing five sixes in a brutal 46 off 19 ball.
His assault left the Pakistanis shell-shocked after they seemed in control with the World XI still requiring 65 runs off the last five overs.
But Amla was more than content to feed the strike to Perera, who duly obliged.
However, it shouldn’t detract from the bearded South African star’s knock.
He never looked rushed and never seemed to play a shot in anger.
It was, at times, truly a masterclass.
Perera’s good night had actually started earlier with the ball.
His medium pacers brought him figures of 2/23 as Pakistan couldn’t quite repeat their heroics with the bat from the previous night.
Babar Azam, who made 86 on Tuesday night, Pakistan’s top scorer again with 45 off 38 but the World XI bowled well in the closing stages.
Morne Morkel was outstanding in only conceding 20 runs off his four overs, a spell that included 14 dot balls.
West Indian leggie Samuel Badree took 2/31.
The deciding match takes place on Friday.