Mirpur: Pakistan survived a top-order collapse before completing a seven-wicket win over United Arab Emirates in their second round robin league match of the Asia Cup Twenty20 tournament in Mirpur. (Scorecard | Highlights)
An unbroken 114-run stand for the fourth wicket between Shoaib Malik (63 no) and Umar Akmal (50 no) sealed the issue for Shahid Afridi’s men, who chased down the victory target of 130 in 18.4 overs.
Opting to bat, UAE managed to score 129 for six, despite a top-order collapse which saw them tottering at 12 for three after just four overs.
Shaiman Anwar was the top-scorer with 46 off 42 balls that was studded with five boundaries and two sixes. Skipper Amjad Javed also threw his bat around to contribute a valuable unbeaten 27 off 18 balls with three fours and two sixes.
Malik proved his detractors wrong with a responsible innings as he found an able ally in Akmal.
Pakistan suffered triple jolt early in their chase by rival captain Javed, who struck thrice reducing the former World T20 champions to 17 for three. Sharjeel Khan (4) was adjudged leg before while Khurram Manzoor nicked one to Swapnil Patil behind the stumps. Mohammed Hafeez (11) looked scratchy before offering a catch to short cover.
Akmal and under-fire veteran Malik then took charge but they never dominated the bowling despite the final few overs during which they hit a flurry of fours and sixes.
In all, Malik hit seven fours and three sixes in 49 balls while Akmal helped himself to couple of boundaries apart from three over boundaries in 46 balls.
Malik was dropped on 41 in the deep off Mohammed Shahzad’s bowling and that proved to be too costly for the inexperienced side.
Malik hit couple of hefty blows in part-time spinner Rohan Mustafa’s next over to effectively finish the match.
Barring Mohammed Amir, who again did the star turn with figures of 4-1-6-2, Pakistan bowling attack lacked the intensity shown during the India match.
The likes of Mohamed Sami (1/28 in 4 overs), Mohammed Irfan (2/30 in 4 overs) and debutant left-arm spinner Mohammed Nawaz (0/26 in 3 overs) were inconsistent giving away too many boundary balls towards the back end of the innings.
As many as half a dozen of sixes were hit by the UAE batsmen apart from 13 boundaries.
However Pakistan made a good start with Sami getting left-hander Rohan Mustafa (1) early with a short ball.
Muhammad Kaleem (1) was fooled by Amir, who came round the wicket and foxed him with a change of pace as the delivery came in to knock his stumps.
The 7 feet tall Mohammed Irfan used his height to get Mohammed Shahzad (5) with a delivery that grew big on the right hander as he only managed to glove it to Sarfraz Ahmed behind stumps.
At 12/3 it was Shaiman, who took it on himself to counter-attack. He had a brief 29 runs stand with Usman Mushtaq (9) before Afridi got rid of him but then a steady Mohammed Usman (21) joined him for a 31-run stand.
Shaiman’s innings was a treat as both his sixes came off Nawaz – a big heave over long-off and a slog sweep over the cow corner. Just when he was looking good for a half-century, Irfan got him to nick one behind the stumps.
But skipper Javed and Mohammed Naveed hit some lusty blows to take the minnows to a near par-score on this track.