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Asif powers Pakistan to semis doorstep after Rauf’s 4-for

Asif powers Pakistan to semis doorstep after Rauf’s 4-for

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Pakistan registered their second win in as many games in the Super 12s of the ongoing T20 World Cup on Tuesday beating New Zealand by five wickets, thanks to some lusty late blows from the blade of Asif Ali.

Having beaten India by a big margin of 10 wickets— their first win by this margin in the format, as well as India’s first defeat by the same margin – in their opening match, it means the men in green are now ideally placed to make it through to the semifinals as one of the top two teams in their group.

Their remaining encounters are against the relatively easier opponents in their group – Afghanistan, and associate members Scotland and Namibia.

In Tuesday’s match, New Zealand batted first after losing the toss. They could only manage a below-par total of 134 for eight wickets in 20 overs.

Daryl Mitchell and Devon Conway were jointly the highest scorers for New Zealand, posting 27 each. Three of the other New Zealand batters have reached a two-digit score each but failed to continue on a good run.

Haris Rauf was the best bowler for Pakistan this night. He bagged four wickets conceding 22 runs in four overs. Shaheen Afridi, Imad Wasim and Mohammad Hafeez scalped one wicket each.

In reply, Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan added 28 runs at the first wicket stand. Babar was the first wicket to fall scoring nine off 11 balls. The Pakistan captain was scalped by Tim Southee.

In the last five overs, Pakistan needed 44 runs with five wickets in hand. Without losing any more wickets, they reached the target in style riding on wonderful batting efforts from Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali.

Asif remained unbeaten on 27 off 12 balls with three sixes when the pressure was on, while Malik also remained unbeaten on 26 with one six and two fours.

With this win, Pakistan are now top of the table of Group 1 in Super 12s. In their next match, Pakistan will take on Afghanistan on October 29 while New Zealand will lock horns against India on October 31.