Pakistan prevail in T20 opener
Black Caps progress to Super Eights despite defeat
Last Updated: 23/09/12 3:41pm
Pakistan announced themselves at the ICC World Twenty20 with a 13-run victory over New Zealand in their Group D opener in Pallekele.
Left-handed batsman Nasir Jamshed (56) struck a maiden half-century to guide Pakistan to 177-6 batting first and despite the total proving too steep for New Zealand, who made 164-9 in reply, the Black Caps still qualify for the Super Eights following their previous win over Bangladesh.
Rob Nicol (33), Brendon McCullum (32) and Ross Taylor (26) all played useful cameos for New Zealand, however Saeed Ajmal's four-wicket haul ended their hopes of pulling off a dramatic win.
Jamshed came to the middle after Tim Southee had ended a brisk 47-run partnership between openers Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Nazir by holding a return catch to remove the latter for 25.
The elegant left-hander lofted a delightful six over extra from only his third delivery faced and he and captain Hafeez quickly took Pakistan up to 92-1 at the halfway stage.
Jamshed brought up his 50 with a four and a single in the 13th over but the Black Caps hit back with three wickets in three overs, Hafeez (43) first to go having been clean bowled by James Franklin.
Kamran Akmal slashed a Jacob Oram delivery to Kyle Mills for just three and Brendon McCullum caught Jamshed off Daniel Vettori's bowling soon after.
Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi also departed when searching for late boundaries and the Pakistan innings folded rather meekly on 177-6.
New Zealand made a promising start in reply, with Nicol and Kane Williamson adding 47 in six overs, before Afridi clean bowled the former in the seventh.
Williamson followed swiftly, run out for 15 by Hafeez, and by the end of the 10th over, the Black Caps had been restricted to just 66-2.
New Zealand needed 86 from the last six overs and Brendon McCullum started the late rally with a huge six off Hafeez after Vettori, promoted to No.4 in the order, survived a stumping.
Despite Vettori (18) and Brendon McCullum (32) falling in the space of six deliveries, captain Taylor and Franklin reignited hopes of a New Zealand victory with entertaining late knocks.
Taylor cracked 26 from 11 balls and Franklin added 13 from just six, leaving 19 required from Ajmal's final over of the match.
But the wily spinner produced a tight over at the death, conceding just five runs and dismissing Southee and Nathan McCullum to end with fine figures of 4-30.
Pakistan will seal their place in the Super Eights if they avoid a heavy defeat against Bangladesh on Tuesday.