PALLEKELE: Pakistan beat New Zealand by 13 runs in an exciting finish to their Group D World Twenty20 match at Pallekele stadium.
Pakistan scored 177-6 in their 20 overs before restricting New Zealand to 164-9 in their 20 overs. Nasir Jamshed top-scored with 56 while Saeed Ajmal finished with 4-30.
Earlier in the first inning, Nasir Jamshed hit a maiden half-century to guide Pakistan to a challenging 177-6.
The 22-year-old left-hander made a 35-ball 56 and added 76 for the second wicket with skipper Mohammad Hafeez (43) after Pakistan opted to bat under bright sunshine at Pallekele stadium.
Jamshed hit two boundaries and four sixes as Pakistan plundered 92 off the first ten overs. Hafeez hit two fours and two sixes off 38 balls.
Pakistan raced to 47 by the sixth over with Imran Nazir hitting five boundaries during his rapidfire 16-ball 25 before he gave a return catch to Tim Southee, who finished with 2-31.
Jamshed was aggressive from the start, smashing paceman Adam Milne for a six before hitting two off spinner Nathan McCullum’s successive overs. He reached his maiden fifty off just 27 balls, improving on his previous best of 45 he made against Australia in Dubai last month.
New Zealand reined them in in the middle overs, claiming three wickets for just 11 runs including that of Jamshed caught in the outfield off Daniel Vettori.
Umar Akmal scored 23 with three boundaries and a six.
New Zealand were uncharacteristically sloppy in the field, with Ross Taylor dropping Hafeez on nought in Kyle Mills’s first over while Rob Nicol failed to hold on to a head-high Jamshed hook off the same bowler which went for six.
The top two teams from the group will advance to the Super Eights round.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Imran Nazir, Nasir Jamshed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanveer, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Yasir Arafat.
New Zealand: Ross Taylor (capt), Rob Nicol, Brendon McCullum, Kane Williamson, James Franklin, Jacob Oram, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Tim Southee, Adam Milne.
Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS) and Marais Erasmus (RSA)
TV umpire: Nigel Llong (ENG)
Match referee: Graeme La Brooy (SRI)