ISLAMABAD - Media XI cricket team defeated Australian High Commissioner XI by six runs in a nail-biting Twenty20 encounter played here at Shalimar Cricket Ground Saturday.

Federal Information Minister Senator Perviaz Rasheed was the chief guest, while Australian High Commissioner Peter Hayward, National Press Club (NPC) president Shahryar Khan, secretary Tariq Chaudhry, Pakistan Federal Union Journalist (PFUJ) president Afzal Butt and a large number of dignitaries, journalists and others were present on the occasion.

Strict security measures were witnessed as police and other law enforcement agencies did a fantastic job. The cops were deployed at all the corners along with main entrance of the ground to ensure smooth sailing of the match which was played in memory of Peshawar Army Public School martyrs.

Media XI, batting first, posted a decent total of 181-6 in 20 overs. Media XI were off to worst possible start as opener Asim was caught at long off in the third over while all-rounder Afzal Javed was clean bowled by Shahid at 22. It was all left on Mohsin Ali to steady the Media XI ship. Faisal Rehman also batted well and both added 100 runs for the fourth wicket partnership. Mohsin was severe with bat as he hit all the bowlers at will and completed his half century in just 22 balls. The partnership was finally broken when Mohsin was caught out by Kashif. Mohsin finished his brilliant knock at 68 runs. Media XI was 132 in 14.3 overs when Faisal also bowled out and both Mohsin and Faisal’s departure proved damaging for Media XI who could add 30 more runs in as many deliveries. Khurrum bowled well and took 2-27.

Australian XI openers also failed to give solid start and skipper was out in the third over when the total was 27. Shahid played a superb knock. He almost single-handedly took Australian XI to victory, as they managed 100-2 in the eight over. Media XI bowlers were given real hammering, but when Afzal brought Shakir Abbasi for attack, he provided breakthrough in the very first over, but danger man Shahid was still at the crease and scoring runs at will. Media XI skipper toss the ball towards Mohsin in desperation to provide much-needed breakthrough. Mohsin didn't disappoint and clean bowled Shahid on the third delivery of his very first over. Shahid was shown the pavilion when he was playing at 82. His departure ended Australian XI hopes of chasing the target. Mohsin then removed Peter at 25, and then Shakir took two wickets in an over, before Syed Sammer Abbas rattled Australian tail in the last over by grabbing two wickets in an over conceding just 2 runs. Australian XI team were all out for 175 on the final delivery. Shakir was pick of the Media XI bowlers as he grabbed 3-20, while Sammer claimed 3-23 and Mohsin Ali, star of the day, bagged 2-21.

Sharing his views at the closing ceremony, Perviaz Rasheed, who witnessed the entire match of, congratulated both the teams for displaying such a wonderful cricket and retreated government’s desire to stand by the victims of Peshawar Army Public School. He highly lauded Australian High Commissioner and National Press Club (NPC) for remembering the martyrs.

When asked about Pakistan cricket team’s crunch match against Ireland and early performances of green caps, he replied: “The masses love national cricket team and give too much respect to them. They were not playing well in the first two matches, but they bounced back in style in the next three especially the way they defended a modest total against the mighty South African, which was a treat to watch. I am quite confident the team is on right track and will show same aggression and team work against Ireland to win the match.”

He added: “If the team plays well and lose, it doesn't matter, we will still love them. I am expecting green caps will show their abilities and carve out victory against all the openness in their way to lifting World Cup.”

Sharing his views Australian High Commissioner Peter Hayward said: “It was a noble cause and we stand by people of Pakistan in the time of need and will continue lending a helping hand.”

To a query regarding outcome of Pakistan-Australia quarterfinal, Peter said: “Hopefully, Australia will perform better than what we did against Media XI.” He also sang a song bucking Aussies and cheering them up.

At the end, Senator Pervaiz Rasheed, Asif Kirmani, Peter Hayward, Sheikh Abdul Waheed, Nasir Mehmood Ch along with other dignitaries distributed trophies among the players and teams.

Mohsin Ali was named player of the match while Shahid was handed over top scorer award. Afzal Butt received the winners’ trophy while Australian XI skipper received the losers’ trophy.