Scorecard | Action in images | Results so far | Full coverage
PALLEKELE: Skipper Mohammad Hafeez led from the front as Pakistan opened their ICC World Twenty20 campaign with a 13-run win over New Zealand here, on Sunday.
The win meant that barring a huge loss to Bangladesh in their next match, Pakistan (along with New Zealand) will progress to the Super Eights from Group 'D'.
The Asian powerhouse elected to bat and set a target of 178, thanks to Nasir Jamshed (56) and Hafeez (43), and restricted New Zealand to 164-9 as off-spinner Saeed Ajmal picked up four wickets. Hafeez was a picture of economy, conceding just 15 in his four overs, as New Zealand failed to get a move on in the chase.
The steadiness of the openers Rob Nicol (33, 28b) and Kane Williamson (15, 13b) was not quite the need of the hour. New Zealand were 47 at the end of the Powerplay, and a string of sedate knocks pushed the required rate fatally upward. Brendon McCullum (32, 31b) was unable to cut loose, and by the time Ross Taylor came in, it was too late.
The Kiwi captain struck a six off Ajmal and three consecutive fours off Umar Gul. But his 11-ball 26 was cut short when he was run out by a flat throw by Gul from the boundary. New Zealand needed 19 off the last over to be bowled by Ajmal, but the Pakistani offie conceded just five, picking up two wickets as the batsmen went for shots.
Earlier, Hafeez and Jamshed capitalised on some loose bowling and dropped catches to give Pakistan a solid foundation. The two added 76 runs in just 8 overs for the second wicket, after Hafeez and Imran Nazir (25) had begun with an equally racy 47-run opening stand.
Hafeez was dropped by Taylor off Kyle Mills at first slip and the Kiwi captain watched in despair as his counterpart clouted Daniel Vettori for six in the next over.
Nazir (25) picked Jacob Oram for special treatment, slashing fours off the Kiwi all-rounder, but was out in the the last over of the Powerplay when Tim Southee held a stiff return catch.
Jamshed then launched a murderous assault. Nathan McCullum was disposed twice over extra cover for six. Jamshed was lucky when he was dropped at deep square leg by Rob Nicol off Mills. Nicol made it worse for the Kiwis by pushing the ball over the boundary to concede a six.
Jamshed reached his first Twenty20 International fifty in 27 balls with a single off Oram. At the other end Hafeez was satisfying himself with singles and couples, interspersed with the odd six - a scorcher off Nathan McCullum over midwicket. Hafeez was bowled going for the pull against James Franklin, and New Zealand held Pakistan back from here on.
Kamran Akmal and Jamshed both got out in quick time as runs started to cease. Umar Akmal (23) finished with a flourish. He struck two fours off Mills and cleared long-on and long-off for four and six respectively against Oram. Pakistan ended on 177-6. Vettori was the pick of the new Zealand bowlers, conceding 23 in four overs and picking up Jamshed's wicket.