Black Caps through regardless of defeat
New Zealand progressed to the Super Eights despite suffering a 13-run loss to Pakistan at Pallekele, a result inspired by Nasir Jamshed’s first Twenty20 international fifty and Saeed Ajmal’s fourth format four-for.
The Black Caps’ impressive net run-rate, a legacy of thumping Bangladesh by 59 runs on Friday, means they cannot finish lower than second in Group D.
Pakistan will join them in the second stage of the World Twenty20 unless the suffer a heavy defeat to the Tigers this Tuesday at the same venue.
Jamshed’s 35-ball 56 in his fourth T20I today aided Pakistan’s 177 for six and Ajmal ran through the Black Caps’ middle order en route to 4-30 from four overs.
Captain Mohammad Hafeez, who won the toss, provided his side’s initial momentum with 43 from the top of the order.
Opposite number Ross Taylor could not hold Hafeez’s regulation edge at slip off Kyle Mills in the opening over and the batsman responded by lifting Daniel Vettori over the long-on rope.
Hafeez and Imran Nazir regularly found the boundary, but Tim Southee had the latter caught and bowled for a 16-delivery 25 in the last over of the powerplay.
Jamshed announced himself with three of four sixes in four overs, three off Nathan McCullum and one off Adam Milne who was playing in place of the injured Martin Guptill.
Jamshed’s fourth maximum, over square-leg off Mills, arrived shortly before his fifty from 27 balls. But Hafeez was then bowled by James Franklin to be the first of three wickets in as many overs. Jacob Oram had Kamran Akmal held at deep cover and Jamshed was held at long-on off Vettori.
Umar Akmal moved into double-figures with two back-to-back fours behind square off Mills but, having consecutively hit Oram for four and six down the ground, next ball holed out to long-on to depart for 23.
Shahid Afridi twice found the boundary before falling to Southee from the last delivery of the innings at deep cover.
Rob Nicol gave early impetus to the chase by clearing the long-on rope, and with three fours, but was bowled for 33 attempting to play back to Afridi the over after the powerplay.
Nicol’s opening partner, Kane Williamson, was then run out at the non-striker’s end in the next while trying to get Brendon McCullum a second run to leg.
Pakistan’s spinners exerted control in the middle overs, save for two consecutive McCullum fours off Ajmal, and the pressure told when Vettori lifted Jamshed to extra-cover.
Worse soon followed for New Zealand when McCullum, whose 123 on Friday was the second-fastest World T20 ton, dug out an Umar Gul yorker only to see the ball trickle onto his stumps to send him packing for 32.
Oram picked up two back-to-back fours later in the over but was then bowled by Ajmal. Having struck Sohail Tanvir for six and four, Franklin then holed out to deep midwicket off the same bowler.
It was five wickets in as many overs when Taylor’s three consecutive fours off Gul were immediately followed by his run-out for 26, attempting a second run to long-off.
Ajmal snared two more in the final over, having Southee caught at short third man and Nathan McCullum at deep square-leg.