Babar Azam hit 86 off just 52 balls to guide Pakistan to a 20-run victory over a World XI side in the first T20 Independence Cup match of the three-game series in Lahore.

The series opener was the first international cricket match held in Pakistan since Zimbabwe toured in 2015 – and the second since an attack on Sri Lanka’s team bus in the host venue in 2009 – and the tourists were protected by high security.

On the pitch, a 122-run second-wicket stand between Babar and Ahmed Shehzad (39 off 35 balls) set the hosts on their way before a quickfire 38 off 20 deliveries from Shoaib Malik set the World XI a lofty target of 198, with Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera the pick of the bowlers with two for 51.

The tourists, led by Faf du Plessis, started brightly with Tamim Iqbal and Hashim Amla keeping the World XI above the 8.85 run-rate before Rumman Raees dismissed both openers in the sixth over.

Du Plessis and Darren Sammy both top-scored with 29, with the latter unbeaten, but the fall of regular wickets hampered their chances of victory as Shadab Khan and Sohail Khan also picked up two wickets apiece.

Pakistan will look to take an unassailable 2-0 lead with success in the second match, which will be held in Lahore on Wednesday.