After blowing hot and cold in the warm-up matches where they beat arch-rivals India but lost to England, Pakistan get ready for serious business today. They take on New Zealand, who, after having handing Bangladesh a 59-run thrashing, start the match very much in the ascendancy. Mohammad Hafeez's men, meanwhile, will look to hit their straps immediately if they are avoid a possible knockout situation in their next game against Bangladesh.
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Pakistan win by 14 runs. Ajmal, once again, struck crucial blows and even though there were some scares for Pakistan, the chase was too much for New Zealand. For Pakistan the most heartening bit would be their batting. Captain Hafeez and Jamshed put their side into a solid position and the rest of the order contribute in bits. Afridi got a few out of the middle but looked like he was back to his best with the ball. the unsung hero, though, was Hafeez who scored 43 and gave away just 15 from his 4 overs. Tanvir and Gul could do well with a few extra sessions with Mohammad Akram. Yasir Arafat too seemed harmless, so possible changes for the Bangladesh game?
WICKET- Southee edges Ajmal to short third.
Ajmal bowling the last over. 19 off it. First two deliveries fetch only one run.
WICKET- Great throw from Umar Akmal at the boundary gets rid of the dangerous Taylor.
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BOUNDARY: Taylor gets three boundaries off Gul, first an edge through third man and then two exquisite shots on the off and leg sides.
WICKET- Tanvir gets his man. Oram tries to paddle-pull a slower one but hits it straight to Jamshed.
BOUNDARY- Franklin tonks Tanvir for a six and a four off consecutive balls to bring the match well within their grasp.
BOUNDARY- Taylor smashed Ajmal over long on for a big six. 47 off 18 now.
WICKET- Oram goes. Ajmal deceives another lefty in typical fashion, it is the change in trajectory that is so amazing. Franklin to join Taylor now. NZ still in this.
BOUNDARY- Oram plays a smart little scoop before top edging Gul towards third man. Two boundaries. Much needed for the Kiwis. NZ 121/4 in 16.
WICKET- Umar Gul takes another T20 wicket. Full, straight and the ball eventually rolls onto the stumps. The dangerous McCullum goes.
BOUNDARY- McCullum reverse sweeps Ajmal over short third man.
WICKET- Ajmal gets the breakthrough. Vettori hits it straight to Hafeez at midoff. Oram now in, possible also because Pakistan seem to be struggling against the lefties a bit. Ross Taylor still in the shed.
Hafeez replaces Ajmal. Appeal for stumping, Vettori survives.
BOUNDARY- Vettori chips Afridi over his head for four. NZ 92/6 in 13. Vettori's promotion seems like a very smart move so far as he has put Afridi's radar off a bit.
BOUNDARY- McCullum picks Ajmal for two boundaries, first a reverse sweep and then a cover drive which Jamshed makes a mess of on the boundary.
Ajmal into the attack. Afridi has been quite unplayable today and it will be interesting to see how this pans out.
WICKET- Williamson goes after a bit of a mix up with McCullum. Vettori now walks in. Interesting choice but a very smart one considering the former Kiwi captain's record against Pakistan and the fact that he is left handed. He will also keep things moving. Chappell not amused with the batting-order shift. "I don't understand this theory of sending bowlers over proper batsmen," he says. Vettori has a test average of 43.85, 17.20 in ODIs and 18 in T20s against Pakistan.
WICKET- Afridi goes through Nicol who tries to cut, not the wisest of shots. The drift is back for Afridi.
BOUNDARY- Afridi into the attack and Williamson edges him through short third-man for four.
BOUNDARY- New Zealand have smacked 4 boundaries and a six in their powerplay so far. Hafeez is sticking with pace and on this completely flat track it seems that may not be the ideal way to go. Ajmal or Malik should be introduced soon if Pakistan are to find a way to stem this flow of runs. NZ 47/0 in 6 overs.
BOUNDARY- Nicol picks Tanvir over the long-on boundary. Effortless shot. Sign of things to come?
Hafeez starts. New Zealand haven't sent in Franklin, possibly because of the Hafeez-factor. Rob Nicol and Kane Williamson. Sohail Tanvir from the other end.
WICKET- Afridi falls off the last ball. Kane Williamson takes a simple catch at deep cover. PAK finish at 177/6. It will be a tough chase no doubt but New Zealand will feel confident with McCullum in top form. Pakistan could have had more if only they had been a little selective with their shots towards the 16th over mark. Top performances from Jamshed and Hafeez and a good hand finally by Nazir. Will Pakistan open with spin on this seemingly harmless wicket? Ideally, Hafeez should continue with what has worked in the past and bowl at the first few overs in the hopes of getting rid of the left-handed Franklin. One feels Saeed Ajmal will also have to come in early today, especially when McCullum is batting.
BOUNDARY- Afridi now repeats Malik's shot. First one of the middle.
BOUNDARY- Malik makes room and waits before slapping Southee over cover. Great shot!
BOUNDARY- Afridi cuts a slower short ball from Oram to the point boundary. Pakistani fans will be desperately looking at this man to find his touch. PAK 165/5 in 19.
WICKET- Akmal goes after attempting the third big shot in the over. Shahid Afridi in.
BOUNDARY- Akmal hits Oram over midwicket for a four before dancing down the wicket to lift the bowler over the long-off boundary. PAK 159/4.
Two overs to go, Pakistan will be looking at another 20 runs at least.
BOUNDARY- Umar Akmal does a 'Dilscoop' before doing an 'Inzi' - an extremely late cut. 148/4 in 18.
WICKET- Jamshed now goes and it seems Pakistan will end up a little short of what could have been an imposing total. Vettori does the trick as the batsman hit to Nathan McCullum on the long-off boundary where he take a tumbling catch. Shoaib Malik walks in.
Oram takes Akmal caught by Nicol. Pakistan would do well to spoil their effort so far. Umar now in. Vettori will look to put the squeeze on now in his last over.
WICKET- Hafeez falls to a half-tracker to James Franklin. The ball just did not arrive. The captain goes for 43. Interesting to see who will come in next for Pakistan. It is Kamran Akmal. 125/2 in 14 overs.
BOUNDARY- Jamshed plays an extraordinary shot off his legs to long on boundary. He brings his 50 up off 27 balls, 4 sixes and 2 fours in his knock so far. He has equalled the record for the fastest 50 in World T20s. He is placed with Pakistan's Shoaib Malik on that list.
Pakistan's 100 up. Their fastest in T20s. 110/1 in 12.
DROPPED- Jamshed has been dropped by Rob Nicol on the square-leg boundary. The extremely well-timed shot burst through the hands of the fielders and went over the boundary for a six. Mills fuming.
BOUNDARY- Jamshed picks Mills over the cover. And the commentators wonder where this man has been all this time.
Vettori back to stop the mayhem. Or at least give it a shot. Ian Chappell quite impressed by Jamshed, says "he is not like most Pakistani newcomers and seems to be very steady. He's even good between the wickets, something which Pakistanis have been guilty of traditionally." Ramiz Raja adds, " Jamshed, like most Pakistanis learnt his cricket on the streets."
BOUNDARY- Hafeez joins the fun with a easy pick up off a McCullum full-toss. Jamshed hits another one over extra cover. Four sixes in 14 balls
BOUNDARY- Nasir Jamshed, the new man in, hits a flurry of sixes. First a lovely inside-out six off Nathan McCullum and then a hook off Adam Milne.
WICKET- This time Nazir is deceived by a slower one by Southee and ends up playing it into the hands of the bowler. Smart catch. PAK 51/1 in 6.
BOUNDARY- Nazir slaps one straight at Tim Southee who gets out of the way in time so save his legs.
BOUNDARY- Nazir dances down to Jacob Oram and edges one past the keeper before playing a Calypso style pull the next delivery. Nazir has 4 boundaries in his 20. Hafeez plays uppish cover drive for another boundary. 14 runs in the over.
BOUNDARY- Imran Nazir is exquisite of the backfoot as he times one on the offside before pulling Mills for a second boundary in the over. PAK 21/0 in 3 overs. Tim Southee into the attack.
BOUNDARY- Early signs that the spinners will just go straight with the arm. Hafeez picks Dan Vettori to the long on boundary for the first six of the game. Vettori's introduction early on is not exactly a great idea considering Pakistan's weakness against the short ball against the faster men. PAK 9/0 in 2 overs.
Mohammad Hafeez gets a life early as captain Ross Taylor spills a simple catch off Kyle Mills.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez won the toss and has opted to bat. All-rounder Abdul Razzaq makes way for included Yasir Arafat in a three-pronged seam attack. New Zealand were forced to leave out opener Martin Guptill who suffered a hamstring problem during his team's 59-run win over Bangladesh in their first match here on Friday. His place was taken by paceman Adam Milne. The top two teams from the group will advance to the Super Eights round.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanveer, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Arafat. New Zealand: Ross Taylor (capt), Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Adam Milne. Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS) and Marais Erasmus (RSA) TV umpire: Nigel Llong (ENG) Match referee: Graeme La Brooy (SRI)