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Pakistani cricket fans walk past the rangers march around the National Stadium before the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies in Karachi on April 1, 2018.
West Indies won the toss and sent Pakistan into bat in the first Twenty20 international at the National Stadium in Karachi, the first international match in the city for nine years. / AFP PHOTO / RIZWAN TABASSUM — AFP or licensors

Karachiites show up in great numbers amid tight security to welcome international cricket

Pakistan outclass West Indies in a one-sided encounter to record a mammoth 143-run victory against the visitors.
Published Apr 02, 2018 12:45am

Pakistan thrashed a jet-lagged West Indies by 143 runs in their Twenty20 opener on Sunday for the second biggest margin of victory in top-level T20 cricket.

Despite this being the first international match in Karachi — Pakistan's largest city — only 18,000 people watched the match in the 33,000-capacity stadium. But those present were in a celebratory mood.

“It's something we've been trying to prove, that it's safe to play here,” said Zehra Kazmi, a housewife.

Aftab Khan, a student, said he was hoping for more top-level cricket on Pakistani soil. “I can't express my feelings in words so we welcome all the players from the international cricket,” he said.

“They should come to Pakistan and play... because Pakistan is a very peaceful country.”

The three-match T20 series against the West Indies is seen as a big step towards reviving international cricket in Pakistan, which was suspended in 2009 following a 2009 militant attack on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore.

People coming to watch the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies. —APP
People coming to watch the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies. —APP

Cricket fans arrive at the National Stadium before the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies in Karachi. — AFP
Cricket fans arrive at the National Stadium before the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies in Karachi. — AFP

A cricket fan holds a placard as he watches the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies team. — AFP
A cricket fan holds a placard as he watches the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies team. — AFP

Rangers stand guard as cricket fans lineup at a security checkpoint outside the National Stadium before the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP
Rangers stand guard as cricket fans lineup at a security checkpoint outside the National Stadium before the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP

People coming to watch the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies at National Stadium. —APP
People coming to watch the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies at National Stadium. —APP

A cricket fan holds a placard as he watches the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies team. ─AFP
A cricket fan holds a placard as he watches the first T20 match between Pakistan and West Indies team. ─AFP

Fakhar Zaman watches the ball after playing a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP
Fakhar Zaman watches the ball after playing a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP

Hussain Talat watches the ball after playing a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP
Hussain Talat watches the ball after playing a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP

Babar Azam watches the ball after playing a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP
Babar Azam watches the ball after playing a shot during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP

A ranger stands guard as cricket fans lineup at a security checkpoint outside the National Stadium before the match. ─AFP
A ranger stands guard as cricket fans lineup at a security checkpoint outside the National Stadium before the match. ─AFP

Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam run between the wickets during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP
Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam run between the wickets during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP

West Indies bowler Veerasammy Permaul gestures as he lies on a stretcher after injury during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies at The National Stadium in Karachi. ─AFP
West Indies bowler Veerasammy Permaul gestures as he lies on a stretcher after injury during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies at The National Stadium in Karachi. ─AFP

West Indies cricketer Rayad Emrit celebrates after taking the wicket of unseen Pakistani batsman Babar Azam during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP
West Indies cricketer Rayad Emrit celebrates after taking the wicket of unseen Pakistani batsman Babar Azam during the first T20 cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies. ─AFP

Mohammad Amir celebrates with teammates after taking the wickets of West Indies batsman Andre Fletcher. ─AFP
Mohammad Amir celebrates with teammates after taking the wickets of West Indies batsman Andre Fletcher. ─AFP