Butler delivers for the Kiwis in a humdinger

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GOT HIM!Ian Butler is cock-a-hoop after sending back Shahid Afridi.
GOT HIM!Ian Butler is cock-a-hoop after sending back Shahid Afridi.

S. Dinakar

Salman Butt's valiant knock for Pakistan goes in vain as his side loses by one run

Bridgetown: In a heart-stopping finish at the Kensington Oval, New Zealand edged out Pakistan by one run in a Group ‘E' Super Eights match of the ICC World Twenty20 here on Friday.

Pakistan required two runs off the final delivery — bowled by paceman Ian Butler — when Abdur Rehman was held at square-leg by Martin Guptill. The Kiwis converged in a heap. What a finish!

The calm and collected southpaw Salman Butt and the big-hitting Abdul Razzaq brought Pakistan, chasing 134, back into the contest.

Butt kept one end going with cuts, drives and pushes while Razzaq waded into the bowling. He targeted Daniel Vettori's left-arm spin in the 15th over with two sixes and a boundary in the arc between the straight field and mid-wicket. Razzaq pulled Shane Bond for the maximum as well.

Razzaq was held in the deep off off-spinner Nathan McCullum but Butt took control. The left-hander struck Mills over long-on on one knee for a six.

Eleven were required off the last over when Salman glided and cut Butler for boundaries. Beaten by a yorker, he scrambled for a single off the fifth ball. Soon, the Kiwis celebrated.

Pakistan required a sound start but was jolted early. The Kiwi pacemen relished the bounce in the pitch. Soon, they were among the wickets.

Kamran Akmal was consumed by a slower delivery from Kyle Mills, playing in place of Jacob Oram. The aggressive wicket-keeper batsman played on.

Then spearhead Shane Bond took out Mohammad Hafeez with a lifting delivery on the off-stump. Hafeez edged the flier to 'keeper Hopkins.

Pakistan was reeling at 25 for three in the fourth over.

Left-handed opener Salman Butt (10) survived when he bottom-edged Mills to the 'keeper while going for a pull. He was ruled not out.

Misbah-ul-Haq was not so lucky. He inside-edged one on to his back pad off seamer Ian Butler but saw umpire Ian Gould's finger go up. Pakistan was in deep trouble.

A sensational diving catch by Nathan McCullum, running in from deep mid-wicket, ended Shahid Afridi's tenure after the Pakistan captain had miscued a pull off Butler.

Earlier, New Zealand finished at 133 for seven after being asked to take strike. This was an innings of fits and starts where momentum was rarely achieved.

The Pakistanis combined well on the field; importantly, the side fielded and caught better than in the disastrous game against England.

Pakistan brought in left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman for Fawad Alam and paceman Mohammad Sami for Mohammed Asif. The changes worked.

Left-arm paceman Mohammad Aamer struck when Jesse Ryder flicked one right into square-leg's hands. After the six overs of field restrictions, New Zealand was 41 for one.

By this time, Afridi had introduced Rehman. The left-armer was soon in the thick of things when Martin Guptill holed out to long-on where Umar Akmal anticipated well.

The strokeful Brendon McCullum (33), who executed a couple of fierce cuts off the pacemen, top-edged a delivery of extra bounce while attempting to sweep Rehman.

New Zealand continued to lose crucial wickets. Ross Taylor slashed at a short delivery outside off from Sami and Kamran Akmal made no mistake.

Scott Styris, bravely, dismissed Afridi over the long-off ropes. However, the leg-spinner soon fired out the Kiwi with a quicker ball.

Skipper Vettori put a price on his wicket even as he gathered runs with some bold shots.

He walked down the track before flicking Afridi for the maximum. Vettori then slog-swept off-spinner Saeed Ajmal over the ropes. He was run out for a valiant 38.

Finally, Nathan McCullum's pulled six off the final delivery of the innings, from Ajmal, pushed the Kiwi score beyond the 130-run mark.

New Zealand: B. McCullum c Sami b Rehman 33 (29b, 5x4), J. Ryder c Rehman b Sami 7 (8b, 1x4), M. Guptill c U Akmal b Rehman 2 (10b), R. Taylor c K Akmal b Sami 3 (7b), D. Vettori run out 38 (34b, 1x4, 2x6), S. Styris b Afridi 21 (17b, 1x4, 1x6), G. Hopkins c Rehman b Afridi 2 (7b), N. McCullum (not out) 12 (9b, 1x6), I. Butler (not out) 0 (0b); Extras (lb-2, nb-1, w-12): 15; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 133.

Fall of wickets: 1-34, 2-41, 3-55, 4-58, 5-98, 6-104, 7-127.

Pakistan bowling: Aamer 3-0-20-0, Sami 3-0-25-2, Rehman 3-0-19-2, Hafeez 3-0-11-0, Afridi 4-0-29-2, Ajmal 4-0-27-0.

Pakistan: K. Akmal b Mills 5 (8b), S. Butt (not out) 67 (54, 4x8, 1x6), Mohd. Hafeez c Hopkins b Bond 8 (4b, 2x4), U. Akmal c Hopkins b Mills 0 (1b), Misbah lbw b Butler 3 (13b), S. Afridi c N. McCullum b Butler 11 (9b, 1x4), A. Razzaq c Taylor b N. McCullum 29 (29b, 4x1, 3x6), A. Rehman c Guptill b Butler 2 (3b) ; Extras (b-1, lb-1, w-4, nb-1): 7; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 132.

Fall of wickets: 1-15, 2-24, 3-25, 4-42, 5-58.

New Zealand bowling: Bond 4-28-1, Mills 4-0-33-2, Butler 4-1-19-3, Vettori 4-0-31-0, N. McCullum 4-0-19-1 .

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