World Twenty20: Akmal, Ajmal carry Pakistan into semifinals (Lead)

June 16th, 2009 - 12:56 am ICT by IANS  

London, June 15 (IANS) Inspiring performances from Kamran Akmal and Saeed Ajmal carried Pakistan into the semifinals of the World Twenty20 after they defeated Ireland by 39 runs in a Group F Super Eights match at The Oval here Monday.
Opening batsman and wicketkeeper Akmal hit a flamboyant 57 as Pakistan made 159 for five in 20 overs after skipper Younis Khan won the toss and elected to bat.

Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal then picked up 4-19 while Umar Gul kept on his fine run with his 2-19 as Pakistan restricted Ireland to 120 for nine in 20 overs despite a brave innings from captain William Porterfield (40).

Pakistan, who were runners-up in the last edition, started the day under clouds of ugly charges by the New Zealand team of ball tampering in their Saturday encounter but finished the day in some style and with every reason to celebrate.

It was a challenging target for Ireland and Porterfield didn’t get much support from the other end. They crawled in their chase and by the time Porterfeild departed in the 14th over, the run rate was beyond their reach.

Kevin O’ Brien scored a patient 26 but the fall of Porterfield triggered a collapse as Ireland lost seven wickets for just 28 runs, four of them to the spin of Ajmal.

Earlier, Akmal scored a crafty 57 off 51 balls and batted through till the end of the 17th over to see Pakistan post a challenging total. His opening partner Shahzaid Hassan (23) played a breezy knock while Shahid Afridi, promoted up the order, entertained The Oval crowd with his explosive 24 off 13 balls.

Ireland tried to pull back things into their control in the last five overs but Abdul Razzaq (15 not out) played a valuable innings to give Pakistan a good total to defend.

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