Thursday, December 23, 2010

Bates destroys Pakistanis in tour opener

Pakistan's tour of New Zealand got off to a poor start after they lost their twelve-a-side Twenty20 match to Auckland at Colin Maiden Park. The hosts won with 40 balls to spare, easily chasing down the target of 92 after Pakistan were bowled out in 17.4 overs.
Pakistan were put in to bat and were in immediate trouble, sinking to 7 for 3 inside the third over. Left-arm seamer Michael Bates did the early damage, getting Mohammad Hafeez out caught and bowled off the fourth ball of the match. Two balls later he got Ahmed Shehzad to nick to Lou Vincent and be dismissed for a duck. In Bates' next over he got rid of the big fish - the captain Shahid Afridi, for 1. Afridi tried to pull Bates, but only got it as far as square leg, where Anaru Kitchen took a sharp catch.
Pakistan never recovered from that rocky start. Umar Akmal provided them with a silver lining, showing some signs of form to get to 25 - Pakistan's top score of the innings. Left-arm spinner Roneel Hira dismissed Younis Khan for 18 and then Umar in his next over, and Fawad Alam was run out for 0 in between, to leave the visitors reeling at 52 for 6. Umar was trying to power Hira through the off side off the back foot, but missed the ball and was bowled. Abdul Razzaq wasn't able to pull off a recovery and fell to offspinner Bhupinder Singh for 16. Bates came back into the attack and dismissed Wahab Riaz to finish with figures of 4 for 11 in three overs.
Auckland opener Colin de Grandhomme was in a hurry to knock off the required runs and raced to 20 off 12 before he was caught at gully by Shehzad off Shoaib Akhtar. Martin Guptill, the only member of the Auckland side who is in New Zealand's squad for the Twenty20 series against Pakistan, played the sheet-anchor role, and batted through the innings, making 28. Shoaib managed another wicket, bowling Lou Vincent, but was expensive, going at 7.75 in his four overs.
Saeed Ajmal did a good job of drying up the runs, giving away 20 in his four overs, and picked up the wickets of Anaru Kitchen and Colin Munro. Gareth Hopkins, who was dropped from New Zealand's squad for the Twenty20 and Test series against Pakistan, made only 8 before falling to Wahab Riaz. But Auckland were always comfortable, and reached their target with plenty of overs to spare, helped by the 17 extras conceded by Pakistan's bowlers.
Pakistan will have two days to recover before the first Twenty20 match of the three-match series against New Zealand, in Auckland, on December 26.

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