New Zealand progress to World Twenty20 Super 8s
New Zealand progressed to the Super 8s stage of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20 despite their 13 run defeat against Pakistan in their Group D clash at Pallekele on Sunday.
Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first and were off to a flying start courtesy of Imran Nazir (25). After a 47 run opening stand in just 5.4 overs, Hafeez (44) and Nasir Jamshed added 76 for the second wicket. Hafeez played anchor while Jamshed (56) attacked. But a stumble saw them go from 123/1 to 134/4, Daniel Vettori dealing the big blow with the wicket of Jamshed. New Zealand pulled back well enough to restrict Pakistan to 177/6 at the end of 20 overs.
Baffling captaincy from Ross Taylor did not help however. Centurion in NZ's previous match as opener, Brendon McCullum was strangely pushed to no.3 in the line up while Rob Nicol and Kane Williamson opened the batting. The pair added a sturdy 53 for the first wicket in 6.4 overs before Afridi dismissed Nicol (33) to give Pakistan the breakthrough. Williamson (15) followed in the next over and in walked Daniel Vettori who then proceeded to add 48 with McCullum (32). The pressure from the mounting required rate got to the Kiwis when Hafeez brought in Ajmal (4/30) who duly scalped Vettori (18). That still did not bring in Taylor, it was Jacob Oram who walked out at no. 5. When Umar Gul removed Brendon McCullum, Taylor finally walked in. Ajmal returned to remove Oram (11), then Sohail Tanvir accounted for a dangerous looking Franklin (13).
Taylor pulled out a few shots and managed to still keep the Kiwis close. With 22 required off 9, the Akmal brothers Umar and Kamran produced a superb joint effort to catch Taylor (26) short while attempting a very risky second run. Saeed Ajmal was left with the easy enough job of defending 19 runs against the Kiwi tailenders, he only conceded 5 while taking the wickets of Nathan McCullum and Tim Southee as Pakistan sealed a 13 run win. New Zealand still managed a decent net run rate, enough to assure them of a passage to the Super 8s stage of the tournament.