|Ground:||Newlands, Cape Town|
|Scorecard:||New Zealand v Pakistan|
|Player:||LRPL Taylor, Imran Nazir, Shoaib Malik, Umar Gul|
|Event:||ICC Twenty20 World Championship 2007/08|
DateLine: 22nd September 2007
Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik said his team would be seeking to repeat history after they cruised to a six-wicket win in their World Twenty20 semi-final against New Zealand at Newlands on Saturday.
"In 1992 Pakistan won the World Cup in the holy month of Ramadan after beating New Zealand in the semi-final," said Malik. The current tournament is also being played during Ramadan and Malik said his players were confident they could achieve victory in Monday's final in Johannesburg.
"We are playing like a team," said Malik, who felt Pakistan were always in control against the Kiwis.
Fast bowler Umar Gul took three for 15 in four overs as Pakistan restricted New Zealand to 143 for eight before opening batsman Imran Nazir hit a dashing 59 to lead Pakistan to victory with seven balls to spare.
Gul produced a high-quality display of accurate and hostile bowling as New Zealand were unable to capitalise on a promising start after winning the toss and deciding to bat.
"Pakistan bowled and fielded pretty well," said New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori. "We got ourselves into a bit of a mire and couldn't get any momentum going."
For New Zealand it was yet another stumble at the semi-final stage of a world tournament. "We need to find a way, first to get back into a semi-final and then to get over that hurdle," said Vettori.
Ross Taylor was New Zealand's top scorer with 37 not out off 23 balls, including 17 off the last over, bowled by Mohammad Asif.
Rain interrupted New Zealand's innings when they were 44 for no wicket after 6.2 overs, with Lou Vincent on 25 and Brendon McCullum on 16.
But Vincent was out for 28 nine balls after the resumption, superbly caught and bowled when he hammered a straight drive against left-arm spinner Fawad Alam.
New Zealand's innings never regained its earlier momentum, with Gul, who started bowling in the 12th over, keeping the pressure on the batsmen.
Gul took two wickets in his second over, dismissing Scott Styris and Peter Fulton, and had Jacob Oram caught behind in his third over.
Taylor was involved in two mix-ups which led to the run-outs of captain Daniel Vettori and Shane Bond, who both sacrificed themselves so that Taylor could continue batting.
Alam, 21, the leading run-scorer and wicket-taker in Pakistan's domestic 20-overs competition, took two for 29 in his second Twenty20 international appearance.
Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir batted aggressively to put on 60 for Pakistan's first wicket before Hafeez was leg before to Scott Styris off the first ball of the eighth over.
Despite needing a runner because of a groin strain, Nazir went for his shots to hit 59 off 41 balls with five sixes and three fours.
Vettori said that although New Zealand had allowed Nazir to have a runner, he felt the player had moved freely both at the crease and when he ran on to celebrate Pakistan's win. "It's not the way we play the game," he said.
Nazir's dismissal by off-spinner Jeetan Patel was quickly followed by those of Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi.
But Malik and Misbah-ul-Haq ensured Pakistan would play in the final with an unbeaten stand of 36. Malik finished the match with a six off Patel.
(Article: Copyright © 2007 AFP)
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