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Pakistan join 300 club with big win over UAE at Cricket World Cup

Published:Thursday | March 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad plays a shot as United Arab Emirates wicketkeeper Swapnil Patil watches during their Cricket World Cup Pool B match in Napier, New Zealand, yesterday.

NAPIER, New Zealand (AP):

Pakistan finally joined the 300 club at the Cricket World Cup yesterday, scoring 339-6 and holding the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to 210-8 to complete a 129-run win in Pool B, which improved their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Opener Ahmed Shehzad scored 93 and Haris Sohail contributed 70 in a 160-run second-wicket partnership which helped Pakistan recover from a hesitant start, then captain Misbah-ul-Haq (65) and Sohaib Maqsood, who hit 45 from 31 balls, helped add 124 from the last 10 overs.

Pakistan were out for 224 in losing to India by 76 runs, 160 in losing to the West Indies by 150 runs and 235-7 in beating Zimbabwe by 20 runs. Their failures with the bat were more glaring at in a tournament in which teams have surpassed 400 twice and 300 12 times in 24 matches.

If Pakistan had won yesterday's match by more than 144 runs, they would have moved ahead of the West Indies on net run rate, further improving their chances of qualifying from a tight group. But they had to win first and foremost, with difficult matches remaining against South Africa at Auckland on Saturday and against Ireland, which also remain in quarter-final contention.


"That was a much-needed win for us and obviously we won by a margin so we can relax a little bit that we improved," Misbah said. "But the next game is very, very important and I think we need to focus on that."

Pakistan may have suffered a big setback ahead of the match against South Africa when giant fast bowler Mohammad Irfan limped from the field after bowling only three overs, with what appeared to be a hamstring strain. The loss of the seven-foot-one Irfan from Pakistan's already-depleted bowling line-up would be a heavy blow.

Sohail took up the slack and captured the early wickets of Andri Rafaello and Krishna Chandran - both caught behind - as the United Arab Emirates slumped to 25-3. The loss of those early wickets made the run chase untenable and while Khurram Khan (43) and Shaiman Anwar (62) combined in an 83-run partnership for the fourth wicket, the run rate required climbed above 10 per over by mid-innings.

Anwar has now scored 270 runs in four innings at the tournament at an average of 67.5, with a century and two half centuries.

Shahid Afridi grabbed 2-35 from his 10 overs to stifle any further chance of a fightback, though the UAE batting effort was still spirited. Swapnil Patil made 36 and Amjad Javed 40 in a 68-run partnership which swelled the total and ensured UAE batted out their 50 overs.

"There were quite a few positives from the batting side," UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir said. "Batting all 50 overs was a very good effort."

Manjula Guruge was the best of the UAE bowlers with 4-56.