Section: Pakistan

Cricket World Cup: Australia beat Pakistan to reach semi-finals

Australia withstood a pulsating spell of fast bowling from Pakistan’s Wahab Riaz to set up a meeting with India in the World Cup semi-finals.

World Cup quarter-final, Adelaide:
Pakistan 213 (49.5 overs): Haris Sohail 41, Hazlewood 4-35
Australia 216-4 (33.5 overs): Smith 65, Watson 64*
Australia won by six wickets

Australia’s hopes of chasing 214 looked in peril when Riaz removed David Warner and Michael Clarke to leave them 59-3.

But Steve Smith countered with a measured 65 and Shane Watson capitalised on a dropped catch to steer Australia home with an unbeaten 64.

Earlier, Josh Hazlewood took 4-35 as Pakistan slid from 97-2 to 213 all out.

Australia’s victory keeps them on course for a fifth World Cup victory and sets up a chance to avenge their 2011 quarter-final defeat by India in Sydney next week.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Ireland out as Pakistan go through

Ireland were knocked out of the World Cup by Pakistan, who qualified for the quarter-finals with a seven-wicket win.

World Cup Pool B, Adelaide:
Ireland 237 (50 overs): Porterfield 107, Wahab 3-54
Pakistan 241-3 (46.1 overs): Sarfraz 101*, Shehzad 63
Pakistan won by seven wickets

Set 238 to win, Pakistan reached their target with 23 balls to spare thanks to Sarfraz Ahmed’s unbeaten 101 in Adelaide.

Ireland captain William Porterfield earlier made 107, but his wicket triggered a slide to 237 all out.

The Irish finish fifth in Pool B, behind West Indies on net run-rate, while Pakistan go on to meet Australia in Adelaide in the last eight on Friday.

Before the tournament, Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom said it would be a “failure” if Porterfield’s side did not reach the quarter-finals.

But for the third World Cup in succession, the Irish have acquitted themselves well, winning three games and beating two Test-playing sides in West Indies and Zimbabwe. England won only two matches, neither against Test nations.

Indeed, Ireland could have reasonably expected to go through with six points, only for their elimination to come as a result of several factors.

Heavy losses to South Africa and India damaged their net run rate, West Indies earned three big wins to boost theirs, while Pakistan recovered from two opening defeats to claim four successive victories.

This latest win continues the improvement of Misbah-ul-Haq’s men, echoing the Pakistan side that began poorly when the tournament was last held in Australia and New Zealand in 1992, only to go and lift the trophy.

For Ireland, their creditable showing will be used as evidence by those who say the next World Cup should not be cut from its current 14-team format to only 10 sides.

The Irish still have the chance to qualify for that tournament as well as the opportunity to earn Test status through the 2017 Intercontinental Cup.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Pakistan beat South Africa in thriller

Pakistan’s pace bowlers stunned South Africa to earn a thrilling 29-run World Cup win in Auckland.

World Cup Pool B, Eden Park, Auckland:
Pakistan 222 (46.4): Misbah-ul-Haq 56; Steyn 3-30
South Africa 202 (33.3): De Villiers 77; Rahat Ali 3-40, Riaz 3-45, Irfan 3-52
Pakistan won by 29 runs (Duckworth/Lewis method)

Chasing 232 in Auckland, South Africa were well placed on 67-1, before Pakistan’s left-arm trio got to work.

Wahab Riaz, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Irfan dismissed the Proteas for 202, despite captain AB de Villiers’ 77.

Pakistan had earlier scraped to 222, with South Africa’s target adjusted after rain reduced the match to 47 overs per side.

The victory, a third in succession, means Pakistan will definitely reach the quarter-finals if they beat Ireland in their final Pool B game on 15 March.

Even if they lose in Adelaide, Misbah-ul-Haq’s side will have a chance of progressing on net run-rate depending on other results involving the Irish, who beat Zimbabwe in a thrilling game on Saturday, and West Indies.

For South Africa, a first opportunity to reach the last eight was missed, but their qualification will be assured with a win against the UAE on Thursday.

They arrived at Eden Park on the back of consecutive scores in excess of 400 but, like their earlier defeat by India, wilted when faced with the pressure of a run-chase.

De Villiers attempted a single-handed pursuit as the rest of his team failed to deal with the pace and bounce of the Pakistan attack.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup 2015: Pakistan cruise past UAE in Napier

Pakistan kept up their push for a place in the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a routine 129-run victory over the United Arab Emirates in Napier.

World Cup Pool B, Napier:
Pakistan 339-6 (50 overs): Shehzad 93, Haris 70, Guruge 4-56
UAE 210-8 (50 overs): Anwar 62, Khurram 43
Pakistan won by 129 runs

Ahmed Shehzad hit 93 and both Haris Sohail (70) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq (65) weighed in with half-centuries as Pakistan ran up 339-6.

UAE were reduced to 25-3 early in their reply and though in-form Shaiman Anwar made 62, they fell well short on 210-8.

Pakistan join Ireland and West Indies on four points in a congested Pool B.

Ireland meet Pakistan on 15 March, the final day of the group stage, in a match that is looking increasingly likely to decide qualification for the last eight.

For Pakistan, a second win in four days represents a build of momentum after heavy defeats by India and West Indies in their opening two matches.

The 1992 champions will almost certainly earn a place in the next round if they win their final two games against South Africa and the Irish.

“That was a much needed win for us,” said Misbah.

“We won by a margin so we can relax now, the next game is really important and we need to focus on that. We have a good net run rate now also.”

Pakistan were rarely troubled in this comfortable win against a UAE side who did not disgrace themselves, particularly by sticking to their task with the ball on a good wicket with one very short square boundary.

Indeed, the Associate side will rue two missed opportunities off Shehzad, the opener put down on two and nine.

Reprieved, he compiled a 160-run stand with Haris, missing out on a century when his dive to complete a second run was not enough to prevent a run-out.

With Haris then caught at mid-on off Mohammad Naveed, Pakistan were in danger of wasting a good platform, but Misbah steadied with Sohaib Maqsood (45).

When the time came, they opened their shoulders, beginning a blitz that would see 124 runs added in the final 10 overs. In that time, Shahid Afridi’s 21 from seven balls made him only the second man, after Sanath Jayasuriya, to score 8,000 runs and take 300 wickets in one-day internationals.

If they were to pull off an unlikely chase and a great World Cup shock, the UAE needed a solid start with the bat, but their top order could not handle the Pakistan pacemen.

Rahat Ali bowled Amjad Ali before Sohail Khan had both Andri Berenger and Krishna Karate caught behind to effectively end the contest.

Anwar and Khurram Khan shared a defiant partnership of 83 until Khurram flicked Maqsood to square leg for 43.

The match meandered to its inevitable conclusion, but for Anwar, an innings that ended when caught at long-off off Afridi took him to a total of 270 runs, the highest of the tournament so far.

UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir said of Anwar: “He’s a brilliant batsman and I’m very happy for him. He’s such a confident individual that we call him ‘Sir Viv’.

“He missed out on a hundred, but if he’d stayed to the end of the innings he would have got it. It was an excellent performance.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: Pakistan beat Zimbabwe to keep hopes alive

Former champions Pakistan survived a scare to pull off a dramatic 20-run victory over Zimbabwe and record their first win at the 2015 World Cup.

World Cup Pool B, Brisbane:
Pakistan 235-7 (50 overs): Misbah-ul-Haq 73, Riaz 54 not out, Chatara 3-35
Zimbabwe 215-9 (49.5 overs): Taylor 50, Irfan 4-30, Riaz 4-45
Pakistan won by 20 runs

Skipper Misbah-ul-Haq’s stubborn 73 and a fiery half-century from pace bowler Wahab Riaz helped the 1992 winners recover from 4-2 to reach 235-7.

Brendan Taylor’s 50 looked to have put Zimbabwe on course for a famous win.

But Mohammad Irfan, with career-best one-day international figures of 4-30, and Riaz (4-45) won it for Pakistan.

Riaz became the first Pakistani to score a fifty and take four wickets in the same World Cup match – and only the eighth cricketer to achieve the feat.

And victory was important for Misbah’s men, who, after heavy defeats by India and the West Indies, would have faced an uphill battle to progress to the quarter-finals had they lost again.

“It was really tough because it was a make or break game for us,” said the Pakistan captain. “You can’t believe how happy we are because we were out of the tournament if we’d lost this game.”

Despite a backdrop of fierce criticism from the public and former players back home – and with chief selector Moin Khan forced to return from the World Cup after visiting a casino – Pakistan posted their highest score of the tournament so far, though their innings got off to a wretched start.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, Pakistan were rocking at 1-1 and 4-2 as Tendai Chatara claimed the wickets of openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad.

But skipper Misbah played a vital innings, steadying the ship as wickets regularly fell around him – including two in one over when Williams dismissed Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi in the space of three balls. Afridi, celebrating his 35th birthday, went for a duck.

Only a late flurry from Riaz – his 54 coming from 55 balls – injected some urgency into the Pakistan innings and gave them a meaningful total to defend.

Zimbabwe lost Sikander Raza and Chamu Chibhabha cheaply – Irfan taking both – but Taylor’s half-century and Sean Williams’ 33 from 32 balls took them to 128-3 and appeared to put them on course for victory.

However, Riaz repeated his batting heroics with the ball, sharing eight wickets with fellow left-arm paceman Irfan as Zimbabwe crumbled.

Injured captain Elton Chigumbura, who was helped off the field with a suspected quadricep tear while fielding, tried valiantly to steer Zimbabwe to victory but was last man out for a run-a-ball 35.

“It is always disappointing to lose a game like this when you feel you have a chance to win,” said Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura.

“Our weakness has been that we have not had one guy scoring a hundred or batting through the innings.”

While Zimbabwe will be frustrated not to have registered only a fourth ODI win over Pakistan, Misbah’s team now head into their next Pool B game against the United Arab Emirates on 4 March with renewed hope of making the last eight.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: West Indies beat Pakistan by 150 runs

West Indies reduced Pakistan to 1-4 as they secured a crushing 150-run victory and their first win of the World Cup.

World Cup Pool B, Hagley Oval, Christchurch
West Indies 310-6 (50 overs): Ramdin 51, Simmons 50, Bravo 49*
Pakistan 160 (39 overs): Akmal 59, Taylor 3-15, Russell 3-33
West Indies won by 150 runs

Jerome Taylor dismissed three batsmen for ducks and captain Jason Holder also struck in Pakistan’s first 19 balls.

It was the worst start to an innings in World Cup history and Pakistan were all out for 160 in 39 overs in Christchurch, with Taylor taking 3-15.

Andre Russell smashed 42 not out off 13 balls as West Indies hit 115 from the final 10 overs to finish on 310-6.

After such an entertaining display of big hitting at Hagley Oval, few would have expected the drama that followed.

Fast bowler Taylor dismissed Nasir Jamshed with the second ball of the innings, Younus Khan with the sixth and Haris Sohail with the 18th in a devastating spell of three wickets for one run that left Pakistan’s hopes in disarray.

Holder added to Pakistan’s misery by removing Ahmed Shehzad – the only Pakistan player to have scored a run – next ball.

Russell soon sent Misbah-ul-Haq on his way for seven before Sohaib Maqsood (50) and Umar Akmal (59) stopped the collapse.

Sammy ended their stand of 80 and wickets continued to fall before Pakistan were all out with 11 overs remaining.

“It was a wonderful performance,” said West Indies skipper Holder. “We batted really well.

“Russell, Lendl Simmons and Darren Sammy added impetus at the end of the innings, then Taylor was excellent with the new ball.”

The defeat leaves 1992 champions Pakistan, who face Zimbabwe on 1 March in their next match, bottom of Pool B after two emphatic defeats.

“It was a tough day, especially after we won the toss,” said Pakistan skipper Misbah. “The guys batting up front have been struggling a bit, and that made it very difficult for us, especially on a pitch like that, with the ball seaming a bit. We just have to pick ourselves up.”

West Indies will go into their next game on Tuesday, also against Zimbabwe, on a high having eradicated the memories of their humiliating defeat by Ireland.

The only downside to their victory was an injury to Darren Bravo, who had to retire hurt on 49 after tearing a hamstring. Windies management later revealed Bravo will stay with the team, but is likely to miss their next game against Zimbabwe on Tuesday.

Denesh Ramdin (51) and Lendl Simmons (50) picked up the pace after Bravo was helped off, with Simmons striking his team’s first six in the 37th over.

Ramdin departed at the end of the 40th over with the score 195-4 but Simmons and Sammy (30) pressed the accelerator, helped by Mohammed Irfan dropping a fifth catch of the innings.

Russell only started his incredible innings in the 48th over but hit his first ball for four and fired three massive sixes in the next over.

Another mighty six came in the final over to bring up the 300 and, although Simmons was run out off the final ball, West Indies had seized the initiative.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket World Cup: India crush rivals Pakistan

Virat Kohli compiled a composed hundred to help defending champions India begin the World Cup with a 76-run victory over fierce rivals Pakistan.

Cricket World Cup Pool B, Adelaide:
India 300-7 (50 overs): Kohli 107, S Khan 5-55
Pakistan 224 (47 overs): Misbah 76, Shami 4-38
India won by 76 runs

Kohli made 107 and shared century stands with both Shikhar Dhawan (73) and Suresh Raina (74) at the Adelaide Oval.

When Kohli fell as part of Sohail Khan’s 5-55, Pakistan looked to have dragged themselves back into the game by restricting India to a reachable 300-7.

But a chase that never gained momentum was wrecked by a collapse of three wickets for one run and they eventually stumbled to 224 all out, Mohammed Shami claiming 4-35.

In isolation, India’s win earns national pride in what was billed as the most watched cricket match of all time, with an estimated television audience of one billion, and extends their World Cup record against Pakistan to six wins from as many matches.

It was also an emphatic way to begin the defence of a trophy they won on home soil in 2011 and represents their first competitive win since arriving for a tour of Australia in November.

Pakistan, winners when the tournament was last held in Australia and New Zealand 23 years ago, can take heart from the way they stuck to the task with the ball, but their limp chase was poor.

After all the hype, the action was intriguing, rather than exciting.

Making first use of an excellent pitch on a baking hot day, India’s innings was underpinned by Kohli’s calm accumulation all around the wicket, his 126-ball stay containing only eight fours.

The right-hander made Pakistan pay for dropping him twice, the first a tough chance in the deep to Yasir Shah when on only three, the second a more straightforward edge behind to Umar Akmal from the spin of Haris Sohail on 76.

When the 26-year-old punched Shahid Afridi to long-on for a 22nd ODI hundred – only Sachin Tendulkar has more for India – he became the first man to score a century in his opening match of a World Cup tournament on two occasions.

Support came from Dhawan, who curbed his attacking instincts, and Raina, who repeatedly heaved through the leg side in his 56-ball knock.

However, after Kohli edged Sohail to Umar, Pakistan fought back through fast bowler Sohail, who demonstrated consistency of length and canny changes of pace.

India scored just 27 runs in their final five overs as five wickets fell, four of them to Sohail.

A chase of 301 looked within Pakistan’s grasp at the interval, but they never threatened to keep up with the six-an-over run-rate.

Younus Khan, promoted to open, gloved a Shami bouncer behind early on and, though Ahmed Shahzad and Haris shared 68, Ravichandran Ashwin found turn with a beautiful off-break to have the latter caught at slip.

And, when Umesh Yadav removed Shahzad and Saqaib Mahsood in the space of three balls followed by Umar controversially being given out, caught behind off Ravi Jadeja on review, the contest was effectively over.

Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq did his best to delay the inevitable with some clean striking in his 76, but he was the ninth wicket to fall, to the lively Shami, before Mohit Sharma had Sohail caught at long-on to seal India’s victory.

Read more at BBC Sport

Cricket: Mohammad Amir: ICC to decide next week on first-class return

Pakistan bowler Mohammad Amir could return to first-class cricket next month after the conditions of his five-year ban for spot-fixing were relaxed.

Amir was jailed for six months for his part in a 2010 betting scam with team-mates Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif.

The International Cricket Council has now reviewed its anti-corruption code allowing banned players to play domestic cricket before their ban ends.

The ICC will decide next week when Amir, 22, can return to the game.

His five-year ban is set to expire in August this year.

A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesman said: “It is most likely that Amir will get a reprieve to play domestic cricket.”

Amir became the youngest player to take 50 wickets in Test cricket, against England at Trent Bridge in 2010.

He was punished for his part in a plot to deliberately bowl no-balls in Pakistan’s Test match against England at Lord’s in August 2010.

Butt was given a 10-year ban, five of which were suspended, while Asif received a seven-year ban, two suspended.

Butt, 30, and 32-year-old Asif also served time in prison.

The PCB will not take up their cases with the ICC because, unlike Amir, they took time to plead guilty to their charges.

Meanwhile, the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom isreviewing the convictions  of all three Pakistan Test cricketers.

They were convicted at Southwark Crown Court on evidence given by journalist Mazher Mahmood, otherwise known as the ‘Fake Sheikh’.

The cases against a number of footballers investigated over alleged match-fixing were dropped after doubts were raised about testimony given by Mahmood.

Last July a case against singer and TV star Tulisa Contostavloscollapsed when the judge thought prosecution witness Mahmood had lied in giving evidence.

Read more at BBC Sport