Magical Saeed Ajmal spins Pakistan to victory
Saeed Ajmal’s four-wicket burst helped Pakistan to clinch a nail-biting 13-run victory over New Zealand in the Group D match of ICC World Twenty20 at Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on Sunday.
The magical off-spinner recorded the figures of 4-30-4 as New Zealand failed to overhaul the whopping 178-run target and desponded to 164-9.
New Zealand were needed 19 runs off the last over, bowled by Saeed Ajmal, who shattered kiwi hopes by removing Nathan McCullum (5) and Tim Southee (1) on the third and fifth delivery.
With 34 needed in the two overs, the game was not likely to come as close but skipper Ross Taylor (26 off 11) belted pacer Umar Gul three successive boundaries in the penultimate over. However Taylor’s run-out in the next delivery restored Pakistan’s semblance.
Rob Nicol (33 off 28) and Kane Williamson (15 off 32) delivered Blackcaps a blistering and plundered 53 runs off the first 40 deliveries before both departed in the quick-succession.
Brendon McCullum, who hit a record-breaking 123 during his side’s 59-run victory over Bangladesh in the opening game, repaired the damage of back-to-back dismissals with a 48-run third-wicket stand with Daniel Vettori (18 off 16) but Pakistan hit back through Saeed Ajmal’s double-strike to put the pressure back on Kiwis.
Earlier, elected to bat, Pakistan rode on the 76-run second-wicket stand between skipper Mohammad Hafeez (43 off 38) and Jamshed (56) to post a challenging total of 171-6.
Both batsman played attacking cricket and propelled the ball past ropes at regular intervals.
Hitting two boundaries and as many sixes, Hafeez, who was earlier involved in the 47-run opening stand with Imran Nazir (25 off 16), bowled out off James Franklin.
Soon after Jamshed’s knock, which was studded with four sixes and two boundaries, came to an end as he misjudged left-arm spinner Daniel Vettori’s delivery and edged to McCullum behind stumps.
Umar Akmal (23 off 15) and Shahid Afridi (12) made some fireworks in the slog overs to thrust the scoreboard.
Pakistan will play their second group match against Bangladesh on Tuesday.