Pakistan 339 for 6 (Shehzad 93, Sohail 70, Misbah 65, Guruge 4-56) beat UAE 210 for 8 (Anwar 62, Afridi 2-35) by 129 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
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Pakistan primed their fans for either startling exhilaration or further frustration by first clobbering 339 in mostly efficient style, before damning the UAE chase by the end of their mandatory Powerplay. Hopes that this Pakistan team is capable of as dramatic and irrepressible a surge as that which won the 1992 World Cup will be momentarily boosted by the 129-run victory, but a truer test awaits them at Eden Park on Saturday.
Another single-figure failure from Nasir Jamshed suggested more batting woe, before Pakistan adopted the blueprint that has seen other teams surpass 300 at the tournament. They survived at the start, sailed through the middle overs, then savaged the death bowling, reaping 143 from the final 12 to heap punishment on a wasteful UAE fielding effort, and an attack that was toothless after their own mandatory Powerplay.
Pakistan will be pleased that their total was not wrapped around a talismanic innings, but forged with wit and purpose by a top order pulling together for the first time in the tournament. Ahmed Shehzad's 93 from 105 led the way and Haris Sohail also hit a fifty as the pair's 160-run stand became the substance upon which more flamboyant innings would be built. Coming in with a mandate to attack, for the first time in the World Cup, Misbah-ul-Haq hit a 49-ball 65, and Sohaib Maqsood and Shahid Afridi launched salvos at either end of the death overs.
Shaiman Anwar's 62 from 88 balls was the best of UAE's response - though for much of their innings, they did not even attempt Pakistan's total. With that score, Anwar became the tournament's top run-scorer, two runs clear of Kumar Sangakkara. UAE would reach 210 for 8, thanks in large part to some fun but futile late-order hitting, as Pakistan's attack grew complacent.
Jamshed played his third fatal pull shot in four innings and fell for 4, before Shehzad's innings spluttered to pained life as he miscued, edged and prodded his way through the early overs. Manjula Guruge kept him on a leash with his line and length while Mohammad Naveed delivered a sharp, varied spell that extracted testing bounce and carry from the McLean Park surface. Both bowlers had Shehzad dropped off his bowling, on 8 and 11.
Sohail found a steady tempo early in his innings, and Shehzad was soon batting to his beat. The pair soon set about massaging UAE's friendly change bowlers into the gaps, and completed their maiden World Cup fifties just before the halfway mark of the innings - the sluggishness of the early overs shaken off.
Having reached 148 for 1 at the 30th over, the batsmen called for an early Powerplay, but then fell within it. Sohail sent an attempted slog to the hands of mid-on to sign off for 70 off 83 and Shehzad was beaten by Anwar's throw from fine leg, as he failed to keep his bat grounded during the dive.
Maqsood and Misbah came together on an unprecedented cushion of runs, and they accumulated intelligently for a few overs before warming to some sustained hitting. Amjad Javed was cracked for three boundaries by Maqsood in the 39th over, before both batsmen ganged up on Krishnan Chandran, to reap 17 runs from the 42nd - sixes flying high and long in the arc between long-off and cow corner.
The pair had plundered 75 from 53 balls before they were parted, as Maqsood hit Guruge to point, on 45. But Misbah signed up Umar Akmal for a sidekick until the penultimate over, bludgeoning balls into his hitting zone on the leg side, while the UAE attack crumbled under the onslaught. He and Akmal were gone in successive Guruge deliveries to good catches in the deep, but had propelled Pakistan to 312.
Given less than two overs in which to bat, even Afridi did his job perfectly. His 21 not out off seven featured two sixes and a four in the final over.
Sohail Khan found enough swing in his early spell to muzzle the UAE openers, but Mohammad Irfan's bounce genuinely startled them, as they alternated between hanging their bats out in hope, and flashing ambitiously, all to little avail.
Irfan was forced to leave the field with a niggle after conceding only two from his first three overs, but his absence was soon made irrelevant. Rahat Ali had Amjad Ali chopping on in the seventh over, before Sohail took the edge of Andri Berenger five balls later. Chandran poked and guessed at the bowlers' line for 10 deliveries, then was gone himself on the last ball of the Powerplay, as Umar Akmal collected his second catch. With the score on 25 for 3 and the required rate at 7.87, any chance of a successful chase had effectively been scuttled.
Anwar flashed and missed often when he was new to the crease, but found the middle of his bat with a backfoot punch and a ramp shot off Sohail in the 14th over, and signaled his World Cup form was not about to taper off just yet. For much of his innings, he had Khurram Khan in support, while even Sohail picked up a niggle, and Pakistan eased back a touch.
The batsmen were largely indifferent to the climbing asking rate, striking only the loose balls to the fence, perhaps having recalibrated their ambitions toward an honourable, rather than outrageous, result. They hit 83 runs in each other's company, punctuating the long, steady passages with big heaves. Khurram's was the more impressive: a pick-up off Wahab into the leg-side stand.
Maqsood dismissed Khurram, then Afridi claimed Anwar as the first victim in a double-blow in the 39th over. Nonetheless, Pakistan were guilty of allowing the match to meander, failing to attack UAE's middle order in search of a greater boost to their net run rate. Javed's adventure sparked the Napier crowd to life in the 46th over, when he dispatched some mediocre length bowling from Sohail for two sixes and two fours, but the conclusion was long foregone.