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Pakistan storms into final

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Imran Nazir.
Imran Nazir.

CAPE TOWN: Imran Nazir scored his first Twenty20 half-century on Saturday, scoring 59 to steer Pakistan to a six-wicket win over New Zealand in the semifinals of the World tournament.

New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori won the toss at the Newlands Stadium and his team scored 143 for eight in its 20 overs. Pakistan chased the target down easily, reaching 147 for four with seven balls to spare.

New Zealand got off to a good start with a 50-run partnership between opening batsmen Brendon McCullum and Lou Vincent, but a 33-minute break for rain broke the rhythm of the innings, and Vincent fell to a sharp caught-and-bowled chance off Fawad Alam when he had 28. McCullum fell soon for 26.

The New Zealand middle order batsmen all managed to get starts, but none of them turned them into substantial scores. Bowler Umar Gul finished with three for 15 off his four overs, and his wickets were Scot Styris, Peter Fulton and Jacob Oram.

Gul came on after the 12th over — as he has throughout the tournament — and bowled his spell unchanged.

“It was a team decision that I bowl that way, and I was happy to do that, even though I usually take the new ball,” Gul said.

New Zealand’s batsmen managed to get themselves into trouble in the pursuit of runs, with Vettori and Shane Bond getting run out in the final few overs when the pressure was on.

Alam gave Gul good support with his bowling, taking two for 29 in three overs.

Controversial start

Pakistan’s innings got off to a good but controversial start. Nazir called for a runner without appearing to have been injured.

“He was able to sprint on to the field and celebrate, and charge down the pitch at our bowlers,” Vettori said. “We don’t believe he was injured, and we don’t play our cricket like that.” — AP

SCOREBOARDNew Zealand: L. Vincent c & b Alam 28, B. McCullum lbw b Afridi 26, S. Styris c Tanvir b Gul 18, P. Fulton c Malik b Gul 10, R. Taylor (not out) 37, C. McMillan c Younis b Alam 12, J. Oram c Akmal b Gul 1, D. Vettori (run out) 0, S. Bond (run out) 5, J. Patel (not out) 0, Extras (lb-1, nb-2, w-3) 6; Total (for eight wkts. in 20 overs) 143.

Fall of wickets: 1-50, 2-74, 3-85, 4-87, 5-104, 6-106, 7-107, 8-126.

Pakistan bowling: Asif 4-0-34-0, Tanvir 4-0-30-0, Afridi 4-0-24-1, Alam 3-0-29-2, Gul 4-0-15-3, Hafeez 1-0-10-0.

Pakistan: M. Hafeez lbw b Styris 32, I. Nazir lbw b Patel 59, Younis c McCullum b Vettori 4, S. Malik (not out) 26, S. Afridi c Fulton b Bond 6, Misbah-ul-Haq (not out) 16, Extras (lb-2, w-2) 4; Total (for four 4 wkts. in 18.5 overs) 147.

Fall of wickets: 1-60, 2-96, 3-104, 4-111.

New Zealand bowling: Bond 4-0-33-1, Gillespie 3-0-30-0, Vettori 4-0-22-1, Styris 3-0-14-1, Patel 3.5-0-31-1, Oram 1-0-15-0.

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