cricket20 :: Erratic Pakistan make it 3 out of 3
t20 World Cup News
Erratic Pakistan make it 3 out of 3

A misfiring Pakistan warmed up for the World Twenty20 semi-finals with a four-wicket victory over Bangladesh at Newlands to clinch top spot in Group F.

They bowled the Tigers out for 140 despite never really hitting top gear, as only debutant Zunaid Siddique resisted with 71 off 49 deliveries.

After Imran Nazir retired hurt in the first over, Shahid Afridi blasted 39 before the spinners slowed the scoring.

From 59-0 Pakistan slumped to 119-6 and though Nazir returned to see them home, they will need to improve in the semis.

With their passage into the last four already assured, there was always a danger they would lapse into their old complacent habits.

And so it seemed as Siddique made the most of three dropped chances to strike some handsome blows after Tamim Iqbal was run out by a piece of sharp fielding from Mohammad Hafeez.

Misbah-ul-Haq fluffed an easy opportunity at mid-wicket when he was on two, while Nazir and Umar Gul failed to grasp more difficult catches at deep square-leg and long-on when he was on 26 and 44.

The 19-year-old left-hander produced delightful straight and cover drives off a lacklustre Mohammad Asif and Sohail Tanvir, and took a real liking for thrashing the ball over the mid-wicket region as he reached his fifty off 35 balls.

Wickets then began tumbling as Aftab Ahmed was stumped off Hafeez, captain Mohammad Ashraful was lbw to a quicker one from Afridi and Saqibul Hasan got a leading edge back to Hafeez.

Siddique responded by dispatching Hafeez over mid-wicket for successive sixes but his eventful knock was ended when another big hit off skipper Shoaib Malik was snapped up by Misbah at deep mid-wicket.

Malik also had Nadif Chowdhury caught behind attempting a cut and Mohammad Mahmudullah was run out after Mashrafe Mortaza's drive deflected off him and into the hands of Gul, who hurled down the stumps at the striker's end.

Asif returned to bowl Mortaza with another lifeless delivery and burst out into laughter after ending Abdur Razzak's bid for a reckless single by hitting the target.

There more smiles all round when Gul cleaned up Syed Rasel in the final over - it was one of those days.

Nazir did not share in the mirth around the ground when a delivery from Mortaza hit him in the nether regions and he was forced out of the action in the first over of the reply.

The way Afridi set about the bowling, there was the risk of more injury as he blasted the seamers and spinners away with regularity.

He hammered Mortaza down the ground and, in the paceman's second over, through cow corner for 10 in two balls, while Hafeez also took a liking to Rasel as 50 came up inside five overs.

Pakistan were racing to their target when Hafeez mis-timed Rasel to long-off, Afridi chopped Abdur Razzak behind after belting Rasel over the long-on rope, and left-arm spinner Razzak had Younus Khan stumped off a wide.

The runs dried up as Malik was snapped up at deep square-leg and Misbah was lbw second ball after missing a straight one from Mortaza.

When a casual Salman Butt was run out by Mushfiqur Rahim to make it 119-6 Bangladesh were still in the game.

But Nazir came back to thrash Mahmadullah over square-leg for six and crashed two more boundaries off Mortaza to help seal a far from convincing victory.

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