Pakistan wins as batsmen come good - Cricket NewsMisbah Ul-Haq plays a shot.

Pakistan topped 300 for the first time in the tournament and not only secured two more points with its win over the United Arab Emirates, but also bolstered its net run-rate, going from -1.373 to -0.385.Save for Nasir Jamshed, every batsman made runs, pushing 339 for 6 at McLean Park in Napier on Wednesday (March 4). UAE could not mount a serious challenge, and ended 129 runs adrift.

When Mohammad Tauqir won the toss and put an unchanged Pakistan team in to bat, he hoped that the quick bowlers at his disposal would be able to make use of the cloud cover on offer.

Mohammad Naveed bowled with discipline, landing the ball just where the batsmen might falter, and sure enough, Ahmed Shahzad just about escaped, a mishit being just out of reach at mid-off. Khurram Khanwas at full stretch, and got one hand to the ball, but it did not stick. In the very next over, Andri Berenger gave Shahzad, then on 11, another reprieve, and the batsman would make it count.

Jamshed soon made way to Haris Sohail, and for a passage, Pakistan’s batsmen struggled to get the scoreboard moving. At the same time, the batting was effective, Sohail and Shahzad matching each other run for run. Both brought up half-centuries, and once the shine wore off the two new balls, batting become easier. The partnership was 160 when Sohail (70), tried to catch up with Shahzad, who had pulled away a touch. Trying to smear the ball over long-on, Sohail failed to clear mid-on.

Sohaib Maqsood joined Shahzad, but the partnership did not last long. Looking to romp to his century, Shahzad (93) pushed hard for a second run, but a good, flat throw from the deep and a bounce of the bat as Shahzad dived resulted in a run-out.

Sohaib Maqsood began to turn on the heat, flicking Manjula Guruge deftly over backward square and clattering him over midwicket for sixes. Maqsood, who got to 45 from only 31 balls, flashed hard to point, and Rohan Mustafa held on.

Misbah-ul-Haq provided just the kind of finish his team needed, beginning steadily but opening up at the right time to hit two sixes and four fours in a 49-ball 65.

Pakistan ended on 339 for 6, its second-highest total in a World Cup match, after the 349 against Zimbabwe in Kingston in 2007.

When the chase began, UAE would have known that only an exceptional start could help it mount a serious challenge. Even when Mohammad Irfan went off the field to have his glute iced after only three overs, there was no real joy for UAE.

Amjad Ali, Berenger and Krishna Chandran Karate were all back in the hut by the time 10 overs were bowled, with only 25 runs on the board. Khurram helped himself to 43 and Shaiman Anwar made a stroke-filled 62 to head to the top of the run-getters list for the tournament. Anwar can take pride in having left the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Chris Gayle behind, even temporarily.

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