Hafeez, Ajmal give Pakistan winning start
PALLEKELE Ė Mohammed Hafeez led by example and Saeed Ajmal bamboozled the batsmen as 2009 champions Pakistan beat New Zealand by 13 runs in their Group D opener of the Twenty20 World Cup yesterday. Electing to bat first, Hafeez (43) forged a 76-run second wicket partnership with Nasir Jamshed (56) to help his team cash in on New Zealandís uncharacteristically sloppy fielding and post 177 for six at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Returning to defend the total, Pakistani slow bowlers did not allow the rival top order to accelerate and off-spinner Ajmal (4-30) denied them the late burst as New Zealand managed 164 for nine wickets in 20 overs.
Shahid Afridi got one for 30 and even though he did not get a wicket, Hafeez sent down four tidy overs conceding only 15 runs to stifle the opponents.
Despite the defeat, New Zealand have booked a place in the Super Eight stage because of their healthy net run-rate. Pakistan need to avoid a heavy defeat against Bangladesh in their remaining group match tomorrow to join them in the next stage.
Australia reach Super Eights
In Colombo on Saturday, Australia reached the Super Eights as opening batsmen Shane Watson and David Warner hammered quick runs to help win a rain-hit game against West Indies by 17 runs in Group B.
Warner hit two sixes and three fours in a 28 run 14-ball innings while Watson struck an unbeaten 41 in 24 balls including three sixes and two fours to hand West Indies a cruel defeat.
Australia were 100 for one when rain stopped play after 9.1 overs, 17 runs higher than the Duckworth-Lewis target of 83 runs at that stage following West Indiesís fine innings of 191-8.
Watson, who was dropped at 28 with the ball clearing the rope for a six after bouncing out of Dwayne Smithís hands, shared an unbeaten 70 partnership with Michael Hussey in 42 balls for the second wicket. Hussey was 28 not out in 19 balls.
Watson, who dropped Chris Gayle when he was on four, later dismissed the West Indies big hitter after scoring his eighth fifty in the shorter version of the game. Gayle scored 54 runs in 33 balls including four sixes.
West Indiesí Marlon Samuels (50) also got a quick fifty including four sixes.
beat Sri Lanka
A clinical performance from South Africa saw them beat Sri Lanka by 32 runs in a rain-curtailed Group C match at Hambantota on Saturday.
Heavy rain reduced the contest to seven overs a side and South Africa, put in to bat first, ran up an impressive total of 78 for four wickets.
Skipper AB de Villiers played a great hand to score 30 off just 13 balls and JP Duminy provided the finishing touches with a four and a six off the last two deliveries of the innings.
The hosts felt they had the game under control when they picked up both South Africa openers within the first three overs with 27 runs on the board but de Villiers turned the game around with a cameo that included two sixes and one four.
The total proved a steep ask for Sri Lanka and their chase was made even more difficult when flamboyant opener Tillakaratne Dilshan was run out without facing a ball.
The South African bowlers bowled a tight line, and helped by some sharp fielding, restricted Sri Lanka to 46 for five wickets as none of the hostsí batsmen were able to get a start.