Pakistan 185 for 5 (Mohammad Ibrahim 39) beat Zimbabwe 181 (Samunderu 46, Khan 3-25) by five wickets
Pakistan chose efficiency over style on Saturday as they booked their place in the semi-finals with a straightforward win over Zimbabwe.
Pakistan's bowlers, so impressive in Friday's defeat of New Zealand, impressed again to dismiss Zimbabwe for just 181, before knocking off the total in 48 overs. Anwer Ali Khan, whose 5 for 34 wrecked New Zealand, took 3 for 25 while his opening partner Jamshaid Ahmed captured 2 for 42 and Riaz Khail picked up 4 for 29.
Zimbabwe's innings fell into several distinct phases. First there was an early struggle as they limped to 31 for 3 in the face of an onslaught from Anwer Ali Khan and Jamshaid Ahmed. Then Donald 'Kuda' Samunderu (46) and Keegan Meth (33) pulled things around with a fourth wicket stand of 65 before another cluster of wickets fell and Zimbabwe slipped to 136 for 8.
That collapse forced Sean Williams' side to draft in their Supersub, Friday Kasteni, in place of opening bowler Ian Nicolson. Kasteni's contribution in getting his side to a reasonably useful score was vital. Batting at number nine, he made 22 crucial runs and, together with Ronald Benade (18) the pair added 39, the second highest stand of the innings. Samunderu, Meth and Kasteni were the only players to reach 20 for Zimbabwe but 23 extras, including 14 wides, boosted their total which, inevitably, was no match for Pakistan.
Ibrahim Mohammed (39) and Rameez Raja (39) both made solid top-order contributions to set Pakistan on their way before Riaz Kail (26 not out) and captain Safaraz Ahmed (22 not out) finished the match off with an unbroken partnership of 36.
"I did not think there was much between the teams but I was definitely impressed by Pakistan's fast bowling," Zimbabwe's captain, Sean Williams, said. "We kept them out there chasing the target for 48 overs but we just did not get enough runs and our top order has failed in every game."
Although Pakistan took their time in their run-chase, they were wary of a replicating the collapse they suffered against Bangladesh earlier in the tournament.
"We did not want to make the same mistake we did against Bangladesh (when Pakistan collapsed) so we were happy to take as long as we had to in order to score the runs," said Pakistan coach Mansoor Rana.
Mansoor, whose team now face a rampant Australia in the semi-finals, was relaxed about his team's fortunes. "As long as we are fully prepared then it does not matter who we play because they are all good teams and it is simply what happens on the day," he said. "One good innings or one good spell of bowling can win a match."