Pakistan fumbles in a last-ball thriller against Black Caps (Lead)

May 9th, 2010 - 12:49 am ICT by IANS  

Ross Taylor Bridgetown (Barbados), May 8 (IANS) Salman Butt produced a sensational knock but Pakistan fell short by one run in a last-ball thriller against New Zealand to go down in their second Super Eights match of World Twenty20 here Saturday.
Butt pulled back Pakistan from deep trouble with an unbeaten 67 after the defending champions, chasing a winning target of 134 runs were reeling at five for 58.

He got an able ally in Abdul Razzak whose cameo (29 off 29 balls) that included three sixes gave Pakistan hope. The two added 52 runs in quick time and just when things were looking up for Pakistan Razzaq holed out to Ross Taylor off Nathan McCullum.

Butt struck paceman Kyle Mills for a six with Pakistan needing 22 runs off 12 balls. But Mills conceded only five more runs in the over.

So the equation stood at 11 runs from six balls. Butt struck a four in the second delivery of Ian Butler with the third man in the circle.

A ball later he hit another cracking boundary charging down the track and making room to strike over point. Butler’s fifth ball was a stinging toe-crusher that beat the bat and Butt made the mistake of going for a run and lost the strike.

With two required from the last ball, Abdur Rehman picked up the delivery off his pads but ended up in the hands of Martin Guptill at square leg.

New Zealanders broke into celebration even as the Pakistani dug out could not believe their eyes.

Pakistan have a slim chance of still making it to the semi-final and they will have to pray for an England win against South Africa in the next match here Saturday. Pakistan’s only match left is against South Africa Monday.

New Zealand, who lost their first Super Eights match to South Africa, remain in hunt and will have to win their last Super Eights match against England.

Earlier, Pakistan, deciding to field, restricted New Zealand to 133 for seven in 20 overs.

Mohammed Sami, Abdul Rehman and skipper Shahid Afridi picked up two wickets each.

Pakistan produced a much improved bowling and fielding performance following their defeat to England where they spilled far too many catches.

Brendan McCullum (33) and skipper Daniel Vettori (38) top scored for New Zealand and Scot Styris (21) provided the late flourish.

Pakistan then began their chase on a disastrous note and lost their first three wickets inside four overs as New Zealand pacers Mills (2-33) and Shane Bond (1-28) extracted pace and bounce from the surface to keep the batsmen on the backfoot.

Butler then bowled a fine spell dismissing Misbah-ul Haq and Afridi to leave Pakistan tottering at 5-58.

Butt, who struck eight fours and two sixes, played patiently at the other end and waited for somebody to provide him support. It came from Razzaq who struck two sixes and a four off Daniel Vettori’s last over to raise Pakistan’s hopes.

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