Asia Cup: Pakistan cruise to seven wicket victory over UAE

Mirpur, Feb 29 (IANS) An all round performance helped Pakistan cruise to a seven wicket victory against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an Asia Cup encounter at the Shere Bangla National stadium here on Monday.

Shoaib Malik top scored for Pakistan with an unbeaten knock of 63 (off 49 balls) and was well supported by Umar Akmal who remained unconquered on 50. UAE’s Amjad Javed was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 3/36.

For Pakistan, it was Mohammad Amir again who shone with the ball returning figures of 2/6.

Chasing UAE’s score of 129/6, Pakistan got off to a rocky start as rival skipper Javed grabbed three quick wickets. Mohammad Hafeez (11), Sharjeel Khan (4) and Khurram Manzoor (0) were Javed’s victims as Pakistan were reduced to 17/3.

But then veterans Akmal and Malik who had failed to deliver in their opener against India got together to rescue Pakistan from the early jolt.

The pair relied on singles and twos and hit the occasional boundary to keep the scoreboard ticking. Once in the groove Akmal clobbered Mohammad Naveed for a four and a six in the 14th over.

At the end of the 15th, Pakistan were 84/3 with 46 runs required of 30 balls.

Thereafter it was cruise for the duo with Malik smashing a few to the ropes. The willowers took a liking for Naveed again as they plundered 23 runs of the 18th over in turn killing the contest.

Earlier after electing to bat, UAE had an awful start as openers Rohan Mustafa (1) and Muhammad Kaleem (1) were picked up by Mohammad Shami and Amir respectively with the score reading 5/2.

Mohammad Shahzad (5) did not last long either as he took a walk back to the dug out with his side tottering at 12/3.

But then Shaiman Anwar and Usman Mushtaq came together in the middle to revive the UAE innings. The duo contributed 29 runs to the total and after Mushtaq’s (9) wicket fell, Anwar knit another useful partnership of 31 with Muhammad Usman.

Just when it was looking like UAE had settled in, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Irfan struck by getting rid of Anwar (46).

Captain Amjad Javed and Usman however, did not allow the Pakistan bowlers to dictate terms as they muscled a few deliveries to the ropes putting on a 46-run stand for the sixth wicket.

After Usman’s departure tail ender Mohammad Naveed’s 5 ball-10 helped UAE get to a fighting total.

Brief Scores: UAE 129/6 in 20 overs (Shaiman Anwar 46; Mohammad Amir 2/6) vs Pakistan (Shoaib Malik 63; Amjad Javed 3/36)

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