Napier, Mar 4: Pakistan kept themselves in the hunt for the quarterfinals by notching up their second consecutive win as they mauled minnows United Arab Emirates by 129 runs in a Pool B cricket World Cup match here today.
Opener Ahmed Shehzad (93) missed out on a hundred but Pakistan punished the UAE bowlers by putting on board a huge total of 339 for six, which was way beyond their rivals.
UAE managed 210 for eight but did well to bat for full 50 overs with Shamimam Anwar scoring 62, his third One-day half-century. Others to contribute were Khurram Khan (43) and Amjad Javed (40).
Pacemen Sohail Khan (2/54) and Wahab Riaz (2/54) along with spin all-rounder Shahid Afridi (2/35) took two wickets apiece for Pakistan. With this win, Pakistan have jumped to fourth in the points table from sixth spot.
Pakistan's huge score came against a not-so-impressive attack but their batsmen got some much-needed runs under the belt as the race to quarterfinals picks up pace.
After being invited to bat, Pakistan lost opener Nasir Jamshed (4) but Shehzad and Haris Sohail, who scored 70 runs, shared a huge 170-run stand for the second wicket to lay the foundation of a big score.
Mohammed Naveed broke the stand by having Sohail caught by Shaiman Anwar. Shehzad then missed the milestone of a World Cup hundred as he was run out as Pakistan lost two quick wickets.
Guruge was the most successful UAE bowler
Shehzad's 93-run knock came off 105 balls with nine boundaries, including a six. The following batsmen also treated the UAE attack with disdain as they scored runs at will.
Sohaib Maqsood scored a fiery 45 and captain Misbah-ul-Haq further consolidated the innings with a 65 off 49 balls. Both Maqsood and Misbah hit four shots each to the fence and cleared the boundary twice.
Misbah was dismissed at the fag end of the innings, attempting a big shot off left-arm paceman Manjula Guruge but Shahid Afridi did the finishing job in style, scoring 21 unbeaten off just seven balls with two sixes and a four.
Guruge was the most successful UAE bowler as he scalped four wickets. The start to UAE's chase was hardly ideal as they lost three wickets for 25 runs in 10 overs.
Khurram and Shaiman then raised a 83-run stand for the fourth wicket to prevent their innings from falling apart. Sohaib Maqsood broke the partnership by getting rid of Khurram and after that the following batsmen negotiated the remaining 20 overs without any collapse.
However, mere steady batting was never going to be enough as Pakistan clinched an easy win.