Pakistan reach semi-finals
Pakistan 184 for 2 (Khalid 90, Adnan 72*) beat New Zealand 181 for 8 by eight wickets
Khalid Latif, Pakistan's U19 captain, guides his team to the World Cup semi-finals
Pakistan made light work of batting under the Bangabandhu lights, as they dispatched New Zealand by eight wickets to secure their passage to the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup. In the process they ensured that England, who beat Zimbabwe earlier in the day, would be joining them.
It was a clinical display from Pakistan, who restricted New Zealand to 181 for 8 in their 50 overs, before waltzing past that target with more than 15 overs to spare. The star of the show was their captain and opener Khalid Latif, who cracked 90 from just 86 balls, with 15 fours and a six. He was ably supported in a 123-run partnership by Adnan Zaheer, whose 72 not out secured the victory ... as if it had ever been in doubt.
New Zealand have struggled to impose themselves in this tournament, although they started well enough after losing the toss and being asked to bat first - a curious decision from Pakistan given the perils of batting in the Dhaka twilight. And while Peter Carey and Bradley-John Watling were adding 59 for the first wicket, a healthy total looked to be on the cards.
At 125 for 2 with 15 overs remaining, New Zealand had the platform for a late assault, but it didn't quite work out like that. Liam Chrisp was extracted by Ali Imran for 25, and then the bottom fell out of the middle order, as three wickets tumbled for two runs in nine balls (153 for 4).
With just 181 runs to defend, New Zealand needed to make a flying start with the ball, but although Abid Ali fell early, Khalid and Adnan were relentless in their pursuit of the target. Pakistan and England now face each other on Friday, to determine who tops Group 2 of the Super League.
"I was disappointed not to get to 100 but the most important thing was to help the team win," said Latif after the match. "We chose to field first because we wanted to experience batting under lights and I think it was a good decision."
Pakistan's team manager Sultan Rana remained tight-lipped about his team's chances of winning the tournament. "We are taking each match as it comes," he said. "The boys are playing very well together and I was very impressed with the way they approached their batting today."
"Pakistan were very impressive in all departments," admitted New Zealand's coach Dayle Hadlee. "They will certainly be one of the sides in contention at the end of the tournament."