Afridi, Ajmal wreck Netherlands; Pakistan advance
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:Netherlands v Pakistan
Player:Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Kamran Akmal, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, DP Nannes
Event:ICC World Twenty20 2009

DateLine: 9th June 2009


Some swashbuckling batting by the Pakistan top-order, especially skipper Younis Khan and then a supreme bowling effort by their spinners made sure Pakistan roll over the Netherlands and book their tickets for the Super-Eight stage.


Chasing 176 to win and 151 to qualify for the super-eight stage, the Dutch started off well. Darron Reekers began in a stellar manner hitting three boundaries inside the first two overs. However, in the effort to hit another one, he top-edged a short one from Mohammad Aamer to the deep mid-wicket region where Sohail Tanvir took a skier.


Alexei Kervezee (21 off 29 balls) and Bas Zuiderent (13 off 15 balls) then began to consolidate but their 29 run-stand came up in 34 balls and the run-rate fell drastically during this period. Shahid Afridi broke the stand with a fabulous yorker, cleaning up Zuiderant on the very first delivery he bowled.


Saeed Ajmal provided a double strike in the next over. First Peter Borren (2) and then Kervezee became his victims. At this stage the Dutch were stranded at 49 for the loss of four wickets in nine overs.


Then a procession of wickets began as the Pakistan spinners spun a web across the Dutch batting. Afridi came back in the 12th over and struck twice within a span of three deliveries to leave the Netherlands in a pathetic state at 62 for six after 12 overs. Wickets kept falling after this and the Pakistan spinners continued to enjoy the fragility of the Dutch batting against quality spin. Kamran Akmal had a sensational stint behind the stumps, with four stumpings.


Afridi was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers and returned with magical figures of 4-0-10-4. The Dutch finally succumbed to a paltry 93 and never even once during the run-chase looked anywhere close to reaching the total that could have made them reach the Super Eight stage.


Earlier, batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan got off to a flier, courtesy openers Salman Butt (18 off 13 balls) and Akmal. They had to get to a big total and both Akmal and Butt left no stone unturned to begin the process.


Akmal started the onslaught going after Edgar Schiferli in the second over of the innings, taking 12 off that over. Schiferli was again taken for runs in his second over, this time though Butt going after the medium-pacer.


Butt was the first wicket to fall when first change bowler Ryan ten Doeschate deceived him with extra bounce and Borren made no mistakes in the cover region. His fall brought former skipper Shoaib Malik on to the middle who started of his knock with a couple of exquisite boundaries.


Malik and Akmal added 43 runs for the second wicket before Akmal holed out to deep midwicket. He fetched a flighted delivery from Pieter Seelar from outside off and went for the shorter square boundary but the shot went straight to Schiferli. The fielder though fumbled and could only catch it in the second attempt.


Post Akmal's fall, Pakistan's run-rate dipped as both skipper Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik mostly dealt in singles. In fact, their partnership of 18 runs which came in three overs was devoid of a single hit to the fence. Finally this inability to hit a boundary took its toll over Malik who with just five runs scored in the 13th over, went for the big one and chose the on side but unfortunately he could not get enough power behind it.


Misbah-Ul-Haq replaced him and the urgency was quickly on show. The third ball he faced went to the fence and after facing five deliveries, the right-handed batsman had 10 runs to his name.


Dirk Nannes bowled a brilliant 15th over, giving away just five runs. In the 16th over bowled by ten Doeschate, Younis Khan (36 off 20) exploded and hit a huge six which was followed by an inside edge boundary from the willow of Misbah (31 off 20 balls) and from here the acceleration began once again. The over went for 15 runs.


Younis again hit a couple of sixes in Seelar's last over before falling to the same bowler caught at long-on. Misbah hit a last ball boundary as the over went for 17.


The last two overs of the innings yielded 19 runs as Pakistan finished with a competitive 175 for the loss of five wickets. The big question though was whether or not the Dutch would be able to reach the total that would make them go through on the basis of their net run-rate.


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