Pakistan's captain Sarfaraz Ahmed hits out

Pakistan played conservatively to win their quarter-final against Zimbabwe by five wickets. They now play Australia in the semi-final and will need to be at their best to beat them.

“It may have looked easy but it was tougher than we thought,” said Pakistan’s coach Mansoor Rana after the match. “We should have won in 40 overs but the boys were slightly over-cautious and didn’t want to repeat the mistakes they made against Bangladesh,” he continued.

Batting first, Zimbabwe were struggling from the onset as three of the top-four batsmen made just seven runs between them. Playing cautiously, and taking advantage of any short balls from Pakistan’s spinners surviving opener Douglas Samunderu and Keegan Meth put on 65 for the fourth wicket another flurry of wickets followed but Zimbabwe’s tail put on 45 runs to present Pakistan with 181 to chase.

Imad Wasim bowling to Ryan Querl

It was a target that could be attacked with Pakistan’s natural flamboyance or chipped away at, blunting all Zimbabwe’s efforts. Conscious of the mantle they bear as defending champions and keen to eschew all risks in losing that title, the latter route was chosen by Pakistan.

Zimbabwe came at Pakistan hard with stump-high deliveries, giving the batsmen very little width. On a slow-wicket with the ball not coming into bat strokeplay was difficult; both of Pakistan’s openers were caught mistiming drives and no batsmen could ever quite dominate the persevering Zimbabwe attack.

Pakistan were always up with the rate, but wickets had a habit of falling at inopportune moments. Even in the last over of the innings, with Pakistan on the verge of victory in the 48th over, their captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was dropped by his opposite number at short mid-off. Had Zimbabwe just managed 20 more, it would have been a truly challenging target.

Sarfaraz Ahmed hits the winning run


Mansoor Rana

“We came to win the World Cup”, said Mansoor Rana. On this evidence, Pakistan still have some work to do and it will take their A-game to beat Australia in the semi-final to be televised across the subcontinent and England on the 17th.

SUPER LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL 3: Pakistan v Zimbabwe, Nondescripts Cricket Club
Pakistan won the toss and chose to field
Zimbabwe: 181 off 49.3 overs (D. Samunderu 46, K. Meth 33; A. A. Khan 3-25, R. Kail 4-29)
Pakistan: 185 for 5 off 48 overs (M. Ibrahim 39, R. Raja 39)
Man of the Match: Riaz Kail (Pakistan)
View Scorecard >>

Filed February 13 2006