Black Caps reach semi-finals

Stephen Fleming

Stephen Fleming continues to impress in the ICC Champions Trophy © Getty Images

New Zealand secured their place in the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy after an entertaining match against Pakistan in Group B.

Scott Styris made 86 and captain Stephen Fleming scored 80 to lay the foundations in Mohali after the Black Caps were asked to bat.

Pakistan threatened to overhaul the New Zealand total of 274 for seven before their tail collapsed and they were all out for 223, losing by 51 runs.

Fleming lost the toss and saw his early partners fail with the bat.

But he combined well with Styris to put the Black Caps in a position of strength before Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum maintained momentum with some quick late runs.

At 177 for four in their reply, Pakistan had victory in their sights, however they could not build on a mid-innings revival.

Victory for New Zealand looked unlikely when Lou Vincent was dismissed in the second over, with Nathan Astle and Peter Fulton also departing cheaply.

Umar Gul, who recently agreed to play for Gloucestershire next summer, struck when Vincent missed with a swipe and was bowled.

Astle then made a quick 15 before guiding a Naved-ul-Hasan ball to Younis Khan in the slips.

Fulton attempted to steady New Zealand but was undone when Iftikhar Anjum trapped him lbw, leaving Fleming and Styris at the crease at 60 for three.

Fleming’s knock - and a stand of 108 with Styris - ended tamely when the skipper offered a return catch to Shoaib Malik.

Scott Styris

Scott Styris overcame a back injury to score 86 for New Zealand © Getty Images

Oram entertained the crowd with a cameo innings of 31 as New Zealand reached their big total, while McCullum added 27.

Styris departed in the penultimate over, with Anjum taking a fine catch off Gul’s bowling.

Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez breezed to 43 from 46 balls, but Imran Farhat (6) and Younis Khan (2) perished cheaply.

At 65 for three, and with Hafeez having departed, Pakistan’s victory hopes looked slim.

Pacemen Shane Bond, Kyle Mills and Oram each had a wicket apiece, and when the impressive Oram prised out Shahid Afridi for just four - caught by Bond - New Zealand appeared to be on a victory charge.

A half-century stand between Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik altered the complexion of the contest,

The pair had put on 94 when Yousuf slashed at Bond and was caught at mid off by Fleming for 71.

Pakistan needed to step up their run rate by finding the boundary, but for a while even the singles began to dry up.

Malik eventually found the ropes off the bowling of Daniel Vettori and completed a half-century in the same 40th over. With 10 overs remaining and five wickets standing, Pakistan required a further 83 runs.

Bond prised out Abdul Razzaq for six - his third wicket - as Pakistan took just three runs from the 41st over, the batsman playing a baseball shot for the second delivery in succession, and was caught in the deep by James Franklin.

Shoaib Malik

Shoaib Malik hits out as Pakistan chase a total of 275

Malik, the remaining frontline batsman, played one extravagant shot too many and holed out to Nathan Astle off the spin of Daniel Vettori, who coped well with the damp ball.

Naved clipped a rising delivery from Franklin to wicketkeeper McCullum to leave Pakistan in strife at 202 for eight.

Umar Gul was then run out, and Kamran Akmal was last man out, caught by captain Fleming off Mills, as victory for the Kiwis arrived in the 47th over.

The run rate of the two sides ensured Sri Lanka can no longer reach the semi-finals.

But Pakistan have another chance to qualify. Victory against South Africa on Friday will carry them through, however the Proteas will be determined to win for the same reason.

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