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Shahzaib takes attack to Steelbacks

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Alex Wakely & Paul Nixon

Captain Alex Wakely held Northants together with 55, but 133 was never likely to be defended against Pakistan's big hitters

Pakistan go into the MCC Spirit of Cricket Series unbeaten on their tour following a straightforward six-wicket defeat of Northamptonshire Steelbacks at Wantage Road.

Shahzaib Hasan and Shahid Afridi benefited most, striking 64 and 42 in making short work of Northants’ target of 134.

Despite losing just three wickets, Northants were restricted to a below-par score in the face of probing Pakistan bowling.

Alex Wakely, captain for the day, played the anchor role from number three, having seen opener David Sales endure a seven-ball duck.

Wakely scored 55 in 43 balls in guiding Northants to 80 for three after 14 overs until he was bowled by Umar Gul.

Elton Chigumbura, their overseas signing, then opened his arms to strike 58 not out.

But Northants never got away from the tourists, with Mohammad Aamer conceding just 10 runs from three overs.

With Pakistan needing 134 to win, Northants’ bowlers then suffered a pasting, with Shahzaib surviving the loss of Kamran Akmal and Fawad Alam to keep the score ticking.

Joined by captain Afridi, the duo put on 60 to settle the contest. Afridi even allowed himself the luxury of retiring out on 42 from 14 balls.

In inimitable fashion, Afridi struck six fours and two sixes, ruining Chigumbura and James Middlebrook’s figures before calling time with 12 needed.

Shahzaib fell before the total was reached, but not before he had stroked 64 in 40 balls, providing him with rich form ahead of the opening T20 against Australia at Edgbaston on Monday.

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