ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

Pakistan v Zimbabwe, World Cup 2011, Group A, Pallekele

Pakistan bowlers seal quarter-final qualification

The Report by Sahil Dutta

March 14, 2011

Comments: 60 | Text size: A | A

Pakistan 164 for 3 (Shafiq 78*, Hafeez 49, Price 2-21) beat Zimbabwe 151 for 7 (39.4 ov) (Ervine 52, Chigumbura 32*, Gul 3-36) by seven wickets (D/L method)
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details


Umar Gul trapped Regis Chakabva lbw, Pakistan v Zimbabwe, World Cup, Pallekele, March 14, 2011
Umar Gul was Man of the Match for his three wickets © Associated Press
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Pakistan made the most of Elton Chigumbura's generous offer to bat first to secure a seven-wicket victory in a rain-reduced fixture at Pallekele and rubber-stamp their quarter-final place. The dank skies delivered two huge downpours that meant Duckworth-Lewis made its first appearance of the tournament in another one-sided Group A fixture.

With the damp pitch and heavy cloud cover Pallekele resembled an early-spring Headingley and Pakistan's bowlers thrived in the helpful conditions. They entered the game on the back of a 110-run hammering on the same ground by New Zealand, but rediscovered their focus to reduce Zimbabwe to 157 for 7 when a second rain delay brought a premature end to the innings. Asad Shafiq then helped himself to an unbeaten 78 in his first World Cup match to steer Pakistan to an easy victory.

Shoaib Akhtar was dropped after his shambolic showing in the previous match and, having struggled for new-ball scalps through the tournament, the opening pair of Umar Gul and Abdul Razzaq made three inroads in the first six overs which set the tone for the remainder of the day.

Razzaq, who was flogged for 49 in four overs against New Zealand, landed the key blow in the first over when he had Brendan Taylor caught behind for 5. Taylor would be forgiven for thinking himself unlucky because it was Pakistan's calamitous wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal who held chance. Kamran had put down an almost identical one off Ross Taylor last Tuesday but here, to the palpable relief of all his team-mates, he made no mistake.

If that was impressive enough, Misbah-ul-Haq's catch at slip to remove Vusi Sibanda, demonstrated a rare sharpness in the field as he moved swiftly to his right to pluck the sharp chance out the air. With the ball darting around and Gul generating good pace it looked as though Zimbabwe would subside swiftly, but Craig Ervine resisted with a gutsy half-century, finding support from Greg Lamb and later Chigumbura, who made his second-highest score in 19 matches as captain with an unbeaten 32.

Ervine was the most assured of the Zimbabwe players but was gifted a life on 13 when Misbah undid his earlier good work by fluffing a simple chance off Razzaq. The dark clouds had threatened all afternoon and finally let rip in the 28th over with a tropical downpour. On most grounds it would have been enough to end proceedings for the day, but a collection of huge covers and an army of groundstaff combined to get the entire outfield protected and play resumed after 90 minutes.

The delay freshened up an already sprightly surface and Ervine fell five balls after completing his fifty. It left Chigumbura to try and atone for his earlier decision to bat and he was looking in good order when rain returned to close the innings prematurely, setting a modest target of 162 from 38 overs.

Pakistan laboured somewhat early on in a straightforward chase before Shafiq took control. Ahmed Shehzad's miserable tournament continued when he ran past a flighted Ray Price delivery to fall for 8. He now has a highest score of 13 from five knocks this World Cup which, after starring in Pakistan's 3-2 series victory in New Zealand that preceded the tournament, is a major disappointment.

Instead it was his Mohammad Hafeez who steadied the early innings with 49. After Hafeez fell, Shahid Afridi promoted himself up the order but his search for batting form continued as he landed a couple of sweeps before missing a cut to give an ecstatic Price his second wicket

Shafiq, in the side head of Umar Akmal, began very quietly and had 5 from 26 deliveries before finding the boundary for the first time. He added 41 from his next 49 balls to bring up a composed half-century and ensure no alarms.

After Afridi's predictable blow-out Younis Khan partnered Shafiq to guide Pakistan over the line and into the quarter-finals with a 54-run stand. It means Group A's qualifiers are settled and the ICC can only be thankful Group B has been exciting enough to keep the elongated opening phase interesting.

Match Timeline

Sahil Dutta is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 60 
Posted by   on (March 16, 2011, 20:09 GMT)

Pakistan can beat Australia and if it does that would surely boost up the team morale.If the spinners bowl well and restrict the batsmen and if the openers are able to give Pakistan a good start, Pakistan could have a great chance of actually winning this.I think Abdul Razzak should work on his line and length.Ahmed Shahzad should improve his footwork. Boom Boom should open, many might not agree but it may actually be a good idea. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!!!!

Posted by   on (March 16, 2011, 7:31 GMT)

Pakistan team rocks. They have to take home the world cup. Allah be with them.

Posted by Mianwali_12chak on (March 15, 2011, 18:14 GMT)

well realy fantastic knock by hafeez spcly three fours in one overs,for me hi classy opners and very decnt with bowling,so compltete packg he is..keep hafeez palynig like this and put some class shorts against Bret lii and Tait..We r looking for another win..

Posted by   on (March 15, 2011, 18:06 GMT)

If Pakistan wants to reach or win World Cup final,then keep Kamran Akmal out of the team,Insha Allah we will do better.

Posted by   on (March 15, 2011, 17:33 GMT)

pakistan looking capebal for world cup.....

Posted by   on (March 15, 2011, 16:52 GMT)

Well, In my opinion Pak should play with 3 seamers against aussies i.e. Shoaib,Umar n Junaid ( In place of Razzaq, because addition of Asad Shafique has strengthen the middle order and i dont i think Razzaq will get a chance to play more than 1-2 overs so why not going for a regular pacer instead of a all rounder )

My XI is 1)Hafeez, 2)Kamran, 3)Younis/Asad, 4)Asad/Younis, 5)Misbah, 6)Umar, 7)Afridi, 8)Riaz, 9)Ajmal, 10)Gul, 11)Shoaib

Posted by promaster on (March 15, 2011, 14:40 GMT)

Umar Gul.What a bowler!! He is the new shoaib aktar.He even knows how to reverse swing the ball.Only few bowlers in the world know how to reverse swing.And he should remain fit for his whole career.

Posted by Stark62 on (March 15, 2011, 12:04 GMT)

I would urge Afridi and co. to stick with Ahmad Shezhad!

People were complaining about Imran Nazir being dropped, well we could very well have the same scenario with this young talented and flamboyant batsmen.

If he clicks then, he will rip apart bowling attacks. I know Shafiq played well but he doesn't score quickly and neither Younis or Misbah are going to go after the spinners in the middle overs plus, Shafiq isn't capable of clearing the boundary and that will only put more pressure on our powerful lower order.

Please, stick with Ahmad Shezhad!

Posted by kex196 on (March 15, 2011, 9:34 GMT)

@ Kabir Awadhi LOL :D :D

Posted by fadms on (March 15, 2011, 8:14 GMT)

I hope Pakistan beats Australia so that they qualify on top of Group A and meets West Indies or Bangladesh. This will mean that Australia qualifies as 3rd if Sri Lanka wins against New Zealand as they will come 2nd on NRR. Australia will likely face India in the QFs, New Zealand will face South Africa and Sri Lanka will face England. Hopefully Australia will be sent packing by India. what do you think fans???

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Sahil Dutta Assistant editor Sahil Dutta grew up supporting England during the 90s. Despite this, he still enjoys the game. His unrequited passions for Graeme Hick and, in latter years, Vikram Solanki gave him a stoicism that guided him through an Economics degree and a stint working at the European Parliament. He maintains the purest love for Tests and the whims of legspin bowling and still harbours hope that he could be the answer to England's long search for a mystery spinner. As it is, his most exciting cricketing experience was planning a trip to Australia for the 2006-07 Ashes with two utterly indifferent friends. Unfortunately his lung collapsed shortly before his planned departure and the pair were left to wander around from Test to Test, unprepared and clueless. Any comparisons with England are far too obvious to make. That cancelled holiday inspired an Ashes blog which led, via some tea-making at the Wisden Cricketer, to the ESPNcricinfo towers.
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