Overall team performance helped Pakistan beat the United Arab Emirates by 129 runs in a Pool B game to stay in contention for the World Cup knockouts. Though the margin of victory was quite big, it can hardly be called a convincing win as the 1992 champions failed to bowl out the minnows, who lost their fourth consecutive match.
Chasing a monumental 340 at the McLean Park, the expat-loaded UAE were tottering at 25/3 in the 10th over but still managed to end at 210/8 in 50 overs, showing the depth in their batting line-up and the inability of the Pakistani bowlers to bowl out a ‘smaller’ team.
From the poor start, UAE arose through Khurram Khan (43) and Shaiman Anwar’s (62) significant 83-run fourth-wicket patient partnership. In the process, the Sialkot-born Anwar, who has been in terrific form, scored his second One-Day International (ODI) half-century to become the World Cup’s highest scorer with 270 runs from four matches.
Later, after the duo got out, wicketkeeper-batsman Swapnil Patil (36) and Amjad Javed (40) stuck it out in the middle to help their side play out the 50 overs.
Experienced spinner Shahid Afridi (2/35) was the pick of the bowlers clinching two wickets while pacers Sohail Khan (2/54) and Wahab Riaz (2/54) also picked up two wickets each. Rahat Ali was economical, clinching one wicket and giving away only 30 runs from his 10 overs to help Pakistan win their second match in four games.
Earlier, Pakistan as a batting unit clicked to post their first 300 plus total of this World Cup when they put up 339/6.
Put in to bat, Pakistan received an early jolt when they lost opener Nasir Jamshed (4) in the fourth over. But thereon, man-of-the-match Ahmed Shehzad (93) and Haris Sohail (70) struck a crucial second-wicket partnership of 160 runs to create the platform for a big total.
Shehzad, who has been out of form lately, scored his 11th ODI half-century while Sohail hit his third fifty to set up the innings. Though the duo got out in quick succession, Pakistan did not lose the momentum as the mantle was handled by Sohaib Maqsood (45) and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq (65), who scored his 41st half-century.
Towards the end, Afridi’s 7-ball 21 run cameo helped Pakistan go well past the 300-run mark also helping the all-rounder to complete 8,000 ODI runs. It was an average bowling performance by UAE, except for left-arm pacer Manjula Guruge, who picked up the first four-wicket haul of his career, giving away 56 runs from eight overs.
Brief scores: Pakistan 339/6 in 50 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 93, Haris Sohail 70, Mishbah-ul-Haq 65; Manjula Guruge 4-56) vs UAE 210/8 in 50 overs (Shaiman Anwar 62, Khurram Khan 43, Amjad Javed 40; Shahid Afridi 2-35). (IANS)